tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN March 23, 2020 4:00pm-8:00pm EDT
but you know what? the longer we delay this, the more iowans i'm going to hear crying on the other end of the phone. not one of them has told me, don't pass this bill. not a single one of them. what me have said is it needs to be done today. again i will remind you that there are states where we have mobilized national guard soldi soldiers. the president and those governors don't just mobilize national guard soldiers because it's a fun thing to do. they do it because we are a nation in crisis. just overnight in iowa, we had 15 more cases. and that's a total of 105 cases of coronavirus in my home state. that's not a lot compared to other states but you know what? iowa is not populated a lot like other states.
105 in iowa, that is a lot for us. just a couple of hours ago i was on a call with iowa state leaders who are at the state emergency operations center. let me say that again. emergency operations center, an e.o.c. you just don't set those up for fun, folks. you set them up when your state is in crisis. they gave us a picture of what's going on with our workers and our small businesses on the ground in iowa. within three hours the state received over 11,000 calls for unemployment insurance. 2,000 of them are self-employed. they won't qualify for unemployment insurance. you know what would relieve their hurt? this package, phase three. meanwhile my democratic colleagues are holding this bill
up that would actually deliver the relief that is necessary for these workers that i just mentioned for things that have nothing to do with a crisis. senate democrats are stalling funding for hospitals and small businesses until they get to jam through their green new deal. mr. president, you tell me what does placing emissions standards on airlines have to do with getting iowa families and workers the relief they need right now? the green new deal was brought up on this very floor last year. how many of them voted for it? none. none. big zero. big zero. they didn't believe in it then so why are they trying to jam it through now? americans from every corner of of this nation are looking to the senate for more help. this is an extraordinary situation, folks, and it
requires an extraordinary response. this is arguably the biggest bill ever. nearly $2 trillion of funding but is that enough? if we were offering up $3 trillion, would it be enough? if it were $4 trillion, would it be enough? i guarantee you that our friends on the other side of the aisle would say oh, that's not enough. we need the green new deal. we need x, y, z which has nothing to do with the covid-19 crisis. mr. president, we are better than this. let's come together in a bipartisan way as we have done through much of this process. we took up phase two. we supported it. i was glad to support it because it was the right thing to do. let's deliver for the american people. it is our duty.
we do not have time to delay. we must pass this additional relief now. and again, it's phase three. there may be many more phases to go. and if the democrats believe it is the right thing to do, they'll get this package done today and we'll move on and have discussions for yet another phase. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. president. america is in crisis. time is of the essence and the senate needs to work on a bipartisan basis to get the job done and get it done today without delay. we see our fellow americans all across this country uniting at this time of crisis. neighbors helping neighbors. people helping throughout their communities. we're watching our health care workers on the front lines of
fighting this virus, true heroes who are putting themselves at risk every day in order to help patients coming in the door. they're facing extreme shortages in personal protective equipment. we need to rush that out in much greater volumes to protect them. we still have a huge shortage of tests in this country and got caught way behind the curve and we're having to catch up. we're trying to manufacture ventilators to help those who are sick who may get sick. and in doing that, americans are coming together. we've seen stories of notices going out to dentist offices and others who have important personal protective equipment like masks but aren't needing them right now to try to rush those to local hospitals.
we've seen nurses and doctors and other health care workers on the front line coming together. and that's exactly what this senate and house need to do. we need to do what americans around the country are doing, united to help one another and help our country. we did that on rounds one and two. we worked very quickly to put together an $8.3 billion package for round one. what did that include? more resources for our public health infrastructure, more resources to try to accelerate the development of a vaccine and therapeutics. that was all good work. on round two what did we do? we said we want to make sure that tests for the coronavirus are free because we don't want americans not going to get tests because they can't afford them. we had to fight for that on the
democratic side but it became bipartisan in the end. we worked to provide more paid sick leave because we don't think it's a good idea for workers who are living paycheck to paycheck to feel like they've got to go to work when they're sick, even if it means they're going to potentially spread the virus. we want to make sure that they can pay the bills at home and stay home and not spread the virus. the provision in round two regarding paid sick leave was good. there are still big gaps in it. so how did rounds one and two come to pass. i hear talk over here this is all a house initiative. actually it was a bipartisan initiative. the white house sat down with speaker pelosi. secretary mnuchin with speaker pelosi. they hammered out rounds one and
two in a bipartisan fashion. they came to the united states senate and they were passed with big bipartisan votes. we need that same bipartisan spirit now. i've been listening in to some of the conversation on the floor. first of all, i keep hearing there aren't democrats on the floor. well, we're coming. the other thing i keep hearing is let's blame speaker pelosi. i mean, this is pretty amazing. this bill is in the united states senate. we're having discussions right now, democrats and republicans. we're having discussions right now democratic senators and republican senators and the white house again primarily with secretary mnuchin. and yet i'm listening to people on the floor blaming speaker pelosi. well guess how rounds one and two actually happened? they happened because speaker pelosi sat down with the trump administration. they hammered out on a
bipartisan basis and came over here. this time -- this time the majority leader senator mcconnell wanted to start the process in the senate. so let's get it done. don't go pointing fingers at speaker pelosi. she's not here. i keep hearing about the house wanting a green new deal as part of this emergency package. that's a total red herring. i even looked at the list of ideas that the house put out, including speaker pelosi. there's no green new deal on this thing. so let's get real. so why can't we vote today again except by unanimous consent? it's not because of the democrats vote. it's because the leader, the republican leader chose to bring up that vote. that was a motion to proceed to the cloture vote. it was a motion to proceed to
cloture on the motion to proceed. that's what it was. and so what did -- what did the leader know? he knew that we're still engaged in negotiations. they're going on right now. hopefully when all of us on the floor leave here, we'll continue to engage. but the leader knew that the votes were not there for that motion. that cloture motion. and yet he burned the one opportunity he would have today on that vote knowing it wouldn't succeed. he could have waited one hour. he could have waited two hours. he could have waited three hou hours. he chose to hold that vote knowing it would fail. that is a self-inflicted wound on the united states senate and on the american people at this moment. because of that decision, we
will have the earliest opportunity to vote again on wednesday. that was a decision leader mcconnell made when he decided to hold that vote today knowing he did not have 60 votes. knowing that the negotiations were going on right now. so he's right, if we want to have a vote between now and wednesday, we have to do it by unanimous consent. i hope we get to that point but make no mistake, the vote that was held earlier could have waited until later today. it could have waited until we got closer to an agreement. and here's the tragedy of it. we're getting pretty close on a lot of important issues. we're still far away on some but we're getting close on some very important issues. unemployment insurance. as we speak people are losing
their jobs. we know that. small businesses are shutting their doors. they started days ago having to shut their doors in the cases of restaurants and bars and many other establishments. we need to attack that from two angles. one is the unemployment insurance system. and we're making great progress in these discussions on that. what do we have to do when it comes to until employment insurance? well, we should work to make sure that somebody who's losing their job through no fault of their own because of the coronavirus, because they're working for an establishment like a restaurant that has to shut its doors, that they have a hundred percent wage replacement for the period of time of this emergency. we wanted six months. republicans wanted four months -- three months. i think we've got right now in the graft four months.
okay. that's a compromise. we also wanted to make sure we could cover people who are not part of the traditional u.i. system. part time workers. the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers. and so we've worked together on a bipartisan basis to make sure we try to get those people help through u.i. as well even though they're not part of the traditional system, trying to streamline the process by which they can demonstrate that they've been making an income so they can get help through umpletu.i.in this emergency mom. we're pretty close on that. we've worked together on small and even mid-size businesses because they're getting hammered right now across the country. we're all hearing from them. they've had to lay off their employees in many cases under very painful circumstances.
they don't want to let their employees go, but no customers in the door means no sales means no income. you still got to pay your rent if you're a small business or your mortgage. you have other fixed costs. so we've come together to work to try to provide a small business plan that would provide funds to those small businesses so that they can keep people on their payroll and if they've already had to let them go, rehire them and also meet their fixed costs. and if they spend the money the way it's directed meaning for necessary fixed costs and for employees, then at the end of the day that loan can be forgiven because we don't want small businesses to have to go through three months with no money through the door and just a huge pile of bills they can't repay at the end of the day. and we've also tried to expand
that and include mid-size businesses. so we're making progress on important things. and those conversations are going on as we speak but there are some areas where we need to reach final agreement. one of them is proper oversight and safeguards on the $500 billion fund to help some of the biggest businesses in the country. now, we need to make sure we don't allow this economy to go into free fall, but i would hope we would all agree we don't want a major corporation getting taxpayer dollars and going and doing another stock buyback. or for big employee compensation. and there is some language in there but then there are these waiver provisions. i would hope we would put at least the safeguards in this provision that we did in tarp -- that was the rescue package back in 2008.
that was much maligned, and for many good reasons, there were not adequate protections to make sure that moneys were spent in an accountable way. don't we want to make sure the $500 billion is spend -- spent in an kabul way? -- in an accountable way? i don't think our colleagues would want to give any administration a blank check to spend $500 billion however they want without any clear safeguards or some process for accountability. so that's what we're talking about now. maybe we can resolve that in two hours. maybe we can resolve it in three. and then we could have the vote. but the majority leader burned that vote. he burned that vote by having it when he knew the votes weren't there, and when he knew conversations were still going on. so i'm back in my office listening to this discussion on the floor of the senate with the majority leader all upset.
he brought that on this body by holding that vote as negotiations are going on. so what else do we need to work on still? we all got a letter from the national governors' association, bipartisan, republicans and democrats, saying hey, we're the states, we're on the front lines of this. we need some help. i don't know if all my colleagues here on the floor know it, but just about 48 hours ago, the position of the republican senate leadership was no, we're not going to deal with those big issues now. we'll do it another day. well, those are issues pressing right now. we're hearing that from republican and democratic governors. we're hearing it from mayors. we heard it from the national league of cities. don't you think it's worth spending a couple hours so that we can hash all that out before you call a vote where you know the outcome in advance?
these are republican and democratic governors pointing out they need more federal help on the health care and medical front as more and more people are coming in the doors. don't you think we can work that out in the next couple hours? why hold a vote that you know is going to fail and means you can't hold the next one until wednesday without unanimous consent? i hope my republican colleagues will ask the majority leader that question. so we have made a lot of progress on some very important parts of this bill. but we also have a fair distance to go, but a fair distance in terms of getting to an agreement doesn't mean it has to take all day. we should be able to close agreement on many of these things. you know, the administration took an appropriate action, saying that they don't want -- they don't want landlords to be
able to foreclose on certain mortgages. i think we should all work together to make sure that people don't get thrown out of their homes through foreclosures or evicted from their homes if they are renters during this period of time if it turns out that they don't have the income to pay those bills. i would hope we could work that out, too. i would hope that there was agreement on that measure. so instead of playing political games here on the floor of the senate and calling a vote where the outcome was predetermined because we're still negotiating on a bipartisan basis, instead of doing that, let's get -- let's get this job done. listen to the members of the united states senate who are negotiating this here try to
blame the house of representatives and speaker pelosi, come on. that's just -- that's just political rhetoric. the house passed rounds one and two. they did it on a bipartisan basis. speaking with the administration and secretary mnuchin and others. they did that. it's the senate right now that can't get its job done. so let's stop playing games, procedural games. let's hammer this out as we have been trying to do. we have made progress. we can close the distance. and then if we can get all that done, we could actually bring it up by unanimous consent any time. so let's do what the american people are doing. let's unite at this time of crisis. let's unite for the good of the country. we did it on rounds one and two. let's do it to help save our
economy and fight the health care fight against the coronavirus. i'm confident, i'm confident if we put our minds to it, we can get the job done for the american people. so let's go back to work. let's complete these negotiations, and maybe we can come back in a couple of hours with a proposal that gets the consent and support of this entire body. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. daines: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: madam president, the health and livelihood of the american people are at risk. they are in danger. we can't afford to keep swablg and arguing here in the united
states senate. time is not on our side. each day matters. in fact, every hour matters. as we look at the stats coming in terms of those who have been affected with covid-19, literally hour by hour, this is a logarithmic kind of scale, this is a doubling every day kind of scale that's going on. hours matter. minutes matter. like many of my colleagues here in the united states senate, i have been talking to montanans around the clock to get their feedback. hospital leaders, ag groups, tribal leaders, small business leaders, construction workers. we are in a public health and an economic crisis. i have not sensed fear like this from the american people any time in my life. i remember 9/11. i remember the crisis of 2008. i remember the 1987 crash. those pale in comparison to what we're seeing today at this very
moment in our country. this is a time that we need to come together. this is a time we must get this done for the good of our country. listen, neither side is going to be happy with the final product. that's part of negotiation. it's give and it's get. and this senate bill before us provides relief for workers, for families, for small businesses, and for health care professionals. i have heard some things said today on the floor of the united states senate that are flat-out not true. let me set some of the facts straight what this bill before us does do. it provides $250 billion of unemployment insurance for those who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak. $250 billion. what that means in montana is $600 a week. that is -- that is twice as big as what's currently paid per week.
it's $4 billion for masks, for gowns, for gloves, ventilators. it's a p.p.e. discussion i just had a couple of hours ago with some of my hospital leaders and doctors and medical leaders across montana. they're scared. the shortage of p.p.e. this bill provides $4 billion to the c.d.c. to address that. i tell you what, dinking around here today, we lost another day we could be moving forward to getting it in the hands of our health care professionals. it provides $350 billion to allow our small businesses to survive and rebound. listen, we have had some very healthy, prosperous, good small businesses that employ a lot of people in montana. these are good jobs. and now they are not just worried about liquidity. they are worried about insolvency. these are ranchers. these are restaurant owners.
it provides $10.5 billion for drug development to treat and prevent the virus. listen. we will not stop the panic we see right now in our country until we stop the pandemic, and we won't stop this pandemic until we have drugs available for the american people who will provide immunity to them. there is great hope on the horizon. there are amazing vaccines. there is amazing what they call monoclonal antibodies through incredible innovation that we can provide the american people before the second wave hits this fall. you talk to the doctors, our best leaders at n.i.h., at the f.d.a., at the c.d.c. they're telling us there is probably a second wave pandemic coming in the fall of 2020. if we don't act now. because, as is true with most of the world, we don't have the
immune systems here to combat this virus, this coronavirus that produces covid-19. and so you either get the immunity from catching the disease or getting a vaccine or these other drugs that can provide the antibodies. there is good news on the horizon. what do we do in this bill? we are going to allow the acceleration of manufacturing so we can get this in widespread distribution across for the american people to protect them in the next flu season when most scientists believe we will probably get hit with this again. and we just lost another day here in the u.s. senate. every day matters. we have vaccine trials going as we speak in seattle. they started monday. there are 45 individuals that received a vaccine that we believe can protect you from the coronavirus. can you imagine the good news for the american people, we found out we have got a vaccine that will protect us. we have a drug that will protect
us. we have therapeutics that will help us if we contract the coronavirus. we just lost another day. that could be a day that we would be closer to getting that in the hands of the american people. we are in a race for time. we are now at the end of march. we have to get this available by september to the american people. this is literally an all of government manhattan project kind of approach, and we just lost another day here because we couldn't get this passed in the u.s. senate. it also provides $75 billion for our hospitals and our health care providers. those are the men and women on the front lines right now saving lives. god bless them, $75 billion for them. if you heard the determines talk about this, you will think there is nothing here for the average hardworking person in this country. that's absolutely false. we can lay it all out. there are parts of this bill i don't like. there are parts of this bill i would change. but we have got to be satisfied
now with a good 80 for 20 because speed matters. it matters to get something done. the american people are looking here at the dysfunction in washington, they don't understand. frankly, i don't either. and this bill before us was written by republicans and democrats. i'll tell you why i know that. because i was part of helping negotiate to get us $10 billion for this acceleration of vaccines and drug program. i went in this week, we were sitting, looking at spread sheets that said here is a republican ask, a democrat ask. there are spread sheets. we can show them to you. we are going back and forth in a bipartisan way to try to craft a bill here we could pass in the senate last night. in fact, the american people are watching both sides in this kind of ping-pong match today around. one side says one thing, one side says the other. sometimes i look to people like susan collins and lamar alexander and moments like this. i think few americans -- few senators would claim that either lamar or susan are humaner
partisan senators. they have got a pretty good temperature of the senate. they have got a pretty good sense of finding ways to make things work. when you hear senator susan collins down here outraged at what happened when senator schumer and speaker pelosi basically put the brakes on the discussions, we lost another day, maybe two, by demanding this bill include an ideological wish list. susan collins is outraged. lamar alexander, he was shocked. let me tell you something. when susan collins is outraged and lamar alexander is shocked about what's going on around here, that tells you something. you can discount what i am saying here, many republican and democrat senators, but those two senators are viewed as some of the most bipartisan senators here. and when they are outraged and shocked, that tells you what's going on in terms of the one of the low levels of partisanship that we have achieved here in the u.s. senate over the course of the last couple of days. this obstruction would create a devastating impact on american
workers, on families with small businesses. they are pushing for things that have nothing to do with the public health and the economic crisis we're facing today. the issues they are pushing have nothing to do with overcoming this pandemic. and in a global pandemic, some have tossed aside bipartisan to push for airline emissions standards. i was told there's no such thing as a house bill. that's false. here's nancy pelosi's house bill. she's part of the discussions. why? because we need something that can pass the senate quickly now and go to the house even more quickly. and let me tell the american people something else. the house is not here this week. i was just speaking with a montanan outside the floor. he was despondent, by the way, fearing both the pandemic and the economic pan deniic, as he is -- pandemic, as he is losing his business. i said, did you know the u.s. house is not even in town this
week? he said, i did not. they left town last week. at a moment the country needs us, the house left town. they are not here as we speak. i think that's lost. so we can debate this another time. here's a request from the bill. a full offset of domestic airline emissions for airlines that use assistance under the pelosi bill. it is right here. we can have a debate some other time about whether to offset airline emissions. now is the time to save the american people, both economically and with their health. we need to get our priorities straight, and that means putting the american people first. by the way, this is not a stimulus package. it's the wrong name for t this is not a recovery package. that's the wrong name for it. this is a rescue panel. that's what we're debating now, a rescue package. we must come together, both
sides. the coronavirus is not partisan. it crosses party lines. it crosses country boundaries. this is a global challenge. it's on the shores of our country. it is time to come together, both sides, vote this bill out of the senate -- yesterday, but that didn't happen. the next best time is today. i urge my colleagues on both sides to set aside the perfect and move forward with this to restore the confidence of the american people for their health and their economic well-being. thank you, madam president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from from arkansas. mr. cotton: the united states is in the middle of a global pandemic, probably the worst public health crisis in over 100 years this country has faced. every minute matters, every hour, every day. i've been saying this for two months now. yet where are the democrats? where are the democrats?
there's not a single one of them down here right now. where have they been all afternoon? one, two, three, probably every republican over here has spoken. because twice in less than 24 hours, the democrats have refused to even start debate, to even start debate on legislation that would help the american people and our economy survive this crisis, that would provide over $3,000 to your average working family in just the coming weeks, that would provide extra unemployment benefits to the millions of americans who have already lost their job and who regrettably are going to lose their job, that would provide loans to our our small- and medium-sized businesses, that would help industries that have been devastated like the hotel industry when thousands and thousands of hardworking americans clean the rooms, make
the beds, cook the food, all of whom desperately need help. the democrats won't even start debate on that legislation. that's what they've done twice -- twice, not voted to defeat any legislation, not even start debate. and in fact earlier today susan collins, probably the kindest, most decent, most bipartisan senator took to the floor to speak and chuck schumer blocked here, refused to allow her to speak. probably because he was scared of what she had to say. and probably just like there are no democrats here right now, because they know they don't have anything to say. they have no case to make. earlier today sherrod brown was accusing us of not acting quickly enough. on nancy pelosi's legislation that the house passed and then
left town for more than a week. i asked him a simple question, when did the house bill arrive in the senate? he refused to answer. i asked him again. he refused to answer and rather engaged in ad hominem attacks. which is to say he has to answer, which is so obvious the case with the senator from ohio. they come down here and they attack the republicans for wanting corporate bailouts. we want to bail out corporations. nothing could be further from the truth. any large company that borrows money from the treasury or takes advantage of federal reserve programs will have onerous terms attached to it and will have lots of strings as well. we insisted, only loans -- only loans be available, not grants, not cash handouts. do you know what the democrats are advocating for behind closed doors? the democrats behind closed doors are demanding free cash handouts for the airlines, right
through that door right there, chuck schumer's office, they are demanding free cash giveaways for major corporations and they have the nerve to come down here and accuse us of bailouts? go right through that door and ask chuck schumer what he's demanding in secret behind closed doors. oh, and don't forget, all of their cities and all of their states -- dick durbin represents one of the most bankrupt states in america, and the most bankrupt city, chicago, in merkel behind those doors, they are deed manning -- they are demanding straight cash bailouts to cities who have been fiscally irresponsible for years. we're willing to help these cities and states. they are overwhelmed by this pandemic. yet we simply say, they have to repay the money on the back end. that's not what the democrats are asking for behind those closed doors over there.
they want straight cash payments. you ask yourself, why would they not even start debate, not even start debate? that's all we're talking about here over the last 18 hours. why would they risk your life and your loved ones' lives and your job and lifetime of retirement savings? well, now we know. now we know. nancy pelosi is circulating a 1,400-page bill that she wants congress to pass, that she claims will help save this nation from this terrible crisis. 1,400 pages. it's almost three times than our legislation, by the way. to i have go you a sense of what might be in that bill, because let me tell you, she is into the hiding the good stuff in her bill. i do have a few pages. let's go through what is a
priority for nancy pelosi and the democrats, as they dither while americans die. corporate board diversity. the democrats want to impose quotas for race and sex on corporate boards. i know they want to do that for a long time. is that going to stop anyone from getting sick? -- from the coronavirus? there's another one. bail p.g.m. out the postal -- bailing out the postal service, wiping out all the debts that the postal service has against the treasury? the postal service needs relief. and i greatly respect and praise the hard work of the men and women who are still delivering the mail. but is a survival package for the coronavirus the right time to be talking about postal service debt to the treasury? oh, here's another one. $10,000 -- minimum -- of student
loan forgiveness across the board. another ideological wish list item for the democrats. what does this have to do with stopping a pandemic, especially when donald trump has already waived student loan payments for americans who are affected by this terrible pandemic? early voting man dated in every single state, the same kind of voting that almost doomed the democrats' favorite candidate, joe biden, for whom nancy pelosi and chuck schumer worked tirelessly to beat their colleague, bernie sanders. combine that with same-day registration. every single state has to register their voters on the same day. election rules written by the same partisan geniuses who couldn't even count their own votes in the iowa democratic
caucuses. here's a good one, too. airline carbon emission offsets. every airline that benefits from these programs, which is probably going to be all of them, has to go carbon-neutral by 2025. gee, it's going to be pretty amazing feat of engining to get jet engines that you can plug into the wall and then fly across the continent. i wonder if that will apply to the private planes that nancy pelosi and they are family flies in or all their buddies in hollywood? what about this one? every airline has to tell you on every single flight what the greenhouse gas emissions of that flight are. so you get your departure time and your seat number and gate number, and, oh, by the way, how many gas emugses your plan is going to -- emissions that your plane is going to have. how is this going tow help a
devastated industry get on its feet? subsidizing retirement plans for community newspaper employees. look, this has been a long-standing debate in congress. it almost sank retirement reform bill last year, and here it is again in a bill designed to stop the pandemic. are you kidding me? $15-an-hour minimum wage. unfortunately, millions of americans are learning that the true minimum wage is zero. when you lose your job because of a global pandemic that is killing your fellow citizens and our elected leaders won't even have a debate on the bill. here's a beauty, too. mandating that federal public employee unions get paid for the union work they do. so that means you, as a
taxpayer, will pay federal bureaucrats when they're doing work not for you the taxpayer but for their unions. again, is that going to stop the pandemic? i could go on and on and on. the democrats' bill is 1,400 pages, after all. but the point is this -- there is a good bill, a bill that was negotiated in good faith over the weekend with many democrats, no matter what they say, that they are now blocking, that they will not even start debate on because of ideological wish list items like those. it is disgraceful. and it is dangerous. -- to the lives of our people and to their economic well-being. it is time for the democrats to get serious and to do their job. the presiding officer: the
senator from south carolina. mr. graham: may i just add to what senator cotton from arkansas just said. it's dangerous, i think it's disgraceful, it's irresponsible and it's not going to work. we're not going to do this. so i think people on our side are willing to go big. for republicans it's not so easy in one day to spend all we're going to spend in a single year. we're going to spend about $1.8 trillion, probably closer to $2 trillion when it's over with in one day. that's as much as we would spend in an entire year for discretionary spending. that's big. i'd like to go smart. if you're going to go big, you need to be smart, right? and you don't need to go crazy. the only reason we're not voting on this bill is because the house hijacked this process. nancy pelosi tried to control impeachment. she tried to set the terms of
the debate for the united states senate and the impeachment trial before she would send over the impeachment articles. remember that whole debacle? and as we were dealing with this impeachment garbage, china was on fire. you'll hear more about that later in the year. but i guess what i would say is that we need to get on with this. you're not going to be successful. we're not going to let this happen to the american people. rahm emanuel said for every crisis there is an opportunity. this is not your opportunity to impose same-day voting. in the house bill, they're requiring every state in the union, whether you like it or not, to allow same-day registration and voting. i personally would like to do that in south carolina, not to combat the coronavirus.
that's a dream that they have. this is not the time to enact that dream. if you're on a ventilator or you're a nurse at a hospital waiting on medical supplies, please go to tell them you can't get your stuff until the republicans agree to same-day voting. they're literally holding hostage the relief for doctors and nurses, for towns and cities, for businesses who've had to lay off their workers, for same-day voting, for corporate diversity, for a $15 an hour minimum wage. if you get a dime of money and you're a business, under the house bill you have to pay your employees $15 an hour. literally they're using this sad day in america to enact policies that wouldn't have a snowball's
chance in hell getting through the united states senate and they see this as a moment for them. we see this as a moment for you. they see this as an opportunity to do things they couldn't do without the country being on fire. to my democratic colleagues, i will work with you to make sure that the money going to american corporations go to the right people. all of us don't want stop buy -- stock buybacks. all of us want to make sure the money is lent, not given as a grant to the big companies in this country. all of us are willing to do more to help the states. we're willing to work on the problem. we're not going to be willing to take your legislative wish list and allow you to use this moment of crisis to turn the country upside down.
i don't know why you want to do this. i know this. if we were doing this, the meeting would be eating us alive. if there were aous bill that republicans -- a house bill that republicans were writing, doing away with right to unionization, every major paper and tv station in this country would be talking about the republican party going nuts trying to take an ideological agenda and attach it to a national crisis that we haven't seen since world war ii. so two things are going to happen. we're not going to give in because it is wrong. it corrupts everything about why we're here. we have worked with the house-passed bill that we didn't like because we needed to get something done relevant to the
problem. to speaker pelosi, you see this as an opportunity to do things you couldn't do otherwise. republicans see this as an opportunity to do things that have to be done now to save lives. i have never been more disgusted since kavanaugh. you tried to destroy a good man's life just to keep the seat open. and close friends of mine in the house have publicly said this is an opportunity to reshape the country in our image. it's not going to happen. we didn't let you destroy brett kavanaugh's life to keep the seat open and we're not going to let you turn the country upside down to shape it in your image. we will work with you in a very
generous fashion to help people who have lost their jobs, help doctors and nurses who have run out of supplies. shame on you. shame on you for coming in at the 11th hour, taking good-faith negotiations and throwing them in an ideological ditch. to the american people, they're going to give in because what they're wanting to do should make you mad as hell. if you've got a family member who is suffering, do you really think now is the time to impose same-day voting? student loans, $10,000 loan forgiveness for every student loan in the country. that's a debate we'll have but not on this bill. and let me tell you what it would cost to forgive $10,000 for every student loan in this country. about $500 billion.
here's the question. if you're going to spend $500 billion, wouldn't you want to spend it on the virus? wouldn't you want to spend it on hospitals who are under siege? wouldn't you want to spend it on businesses who are shut down and have no hope of opening up any time soon? so we're going to hold our grind to focus on the people who need the help the most. we're going to say no to an ideological agenda. and i can't believe that we're having to do this. what the hell has happened? how could we get here as a nation? we've gone a long way from we're all in it together to this. so to my colleagues on the other side, i am more than willing to work with you on unemployment
insurance and all the things that are in this bill. i am not going to give in to the hijack be of the legislative process by the most partisan people in the country at a time people are dying. with that i yield. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i know there are a number of senators here wishing to speak. so i will not be long. it makes me angry that we're here talking about a bill that will not only help defeat this virus but would also put money in the hands of people wondering where my -- how am i going to pay the rent? how am i going to buy groceries? how am i going to buy food for my children? we have our democratic colleagues on a party line vote block the very help for the
people that i'm talking about. they're not worried where their next rent check is coming from, how they're going to pay their mortgage. they're getting paid. they're not worried about ending up like hourly workers or people working for tips who are scared to death about how they're going to make ends meet. first of all they're worried about getting sick, but secondly, if you work for a restaurant or a hotel or some other service industry, heck, if you work for an airline and you've been furloughed and you're wondering how am i going to make ends meet, it should make all of us angry that our democratic colleagues are using this national emergency in order to leverage their ideological wish list. and you've heard it talked about
here many times. let me just make a couple of points. in addition to the money going to individuals, the enhanced unemployment compensation because people don't know how long this is going to last and they need to be able to sustain themselves, the assistance to small businesses so they can maintain their payroll perhaps and keep their business alive for the duration of this crisis. people want to know not only how are they going to make ends meet today, they want to make sure there will be jobs waiting for me after we get on the other side of this crisis. that's what our help for the small businesses is designed to do. and then the third part that really makes me angry is to hear them talk about this bill containing a slush fund for big business. well, in my state and senator
cruz' state, some of these businesses employ hundreds of thousands of people. you know, i never understood how it is you can claim to love the worker but hate the very person or the business that provides them a job. you can't separate those two. you need to have a worker and somebody who's invested, created something so they provide a job. so this ideological division which is designed for nothing -- the purpose to mislead people into thinking this is some sort of bailout, this isn't a bailout. what we're talking about is businesses who through no fault of their own are going to have to lay off workers and trying to make sure that when we get on the other side of this virus, when we beat this virus, there will be jobs still available. so our economy can come roaring back as it will do if we --
unless we mishandle our work here. so i'm angry. i'm frustrated. i'm not the only one. but i think about that mom and dad who are thinking hey, i worked at a restaurant. the government shut the restaurant down. i don't have a paycheck. how am i going to provide for my family? and it's our democratic colleagues by their complete and unequivocal devotion to their ideological agenda that are basically turning their backs on these, our fellow citizens. this is not a time for us to engage in partisan division. this is a time for us to get help where help is needed as soon as we possibly can.
so as i said, madam president, i know the other senators wish to speak so i will yield the floor at this time. mr. braun: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: been here a little bit over a year and have gone through several issues that tells me how this place works. never thought we'd come to the point where we've actually choked down the real economy with the valid effort to try to get rid of the disease and the american people has been caught in the cross fire already is suffering. the ones that early had to shutter their business, they were hoping that when they woke up today, they were going to see something. now you can see that's not going to happen. many others here have kind of gone after the other side. i think it's a valid argument.
what i'm going to talk about here this evening, two things. in we do not get something done and done through unanimous consent and we have to wait until wednesday, we will all be held accountable and we're going to do what this place normally does and doesn't work for the people that sent us here to do the business. had a hotel owner in indianapolis called me earlier in the week. last week, 2% occupancy. the number of small businesses across the country not only in indiana that have had to -- employees leave, had to shutter their business by government edict. the toll and the carnage is going to be great. i want to stress what we might get done and i had four or five
democratic senators tell me this. i'm going to throw the gauntlet out and do it publicly. obviously a list like that does not make sense. and how you even bring that up at a time like this boggles my mind. three areas, four, five different democratic senators said that if we come together on those three areas, they would have enough people to get it across the finish line, even through unanimous consent. number one, and i think most of the folks on my side of the aisle shoring up what state and local governments need to effectively handle this crisis, that's main street. that sounds okay with me. helping the front-line industry
that is responsible for fighting the disease, hospitals and providers and we're real close. we're not far away. and then the one that we hear the most about would be the transparency associated with what could be the most important part of the package, the emergency stabilization fund that helps all those businesses that need liquidity to keep employees on their payroll. but i'm going to be for full transparency. the airlines and their practices of what they could do at the time that ate up all their cash, i think there needs to be accountability. senator manchin said earlier, need stronger language to prohibit stock buybacks. check. most of us would be for that. to where secretary mnuchin cannot have full latitude on
where to direct the funds. i'm a main street guy. i'd go for that, too. don't have enough restraints on the assistance and firing employees at a later time as employers might do. any of us that care about our employees would be for that as well. a couple other things. so i throw the gauntlet out to the leadership who i think trotted out a lot of this other stuff, confused the process, and now we are here to where we have to deal with the unanimous consent. i feel good. i think our side comes along in three key areas. helping the state and local governments, helping the front line of defense, hospitals, and holding the big companies accountable that are going to get the benefit of government assistance.
and we need to keep in mind, this isn't 2008 where you're looking at bailing out and helping some of the people that caused the problem. even these larger businesses have been impacted by government edict to flatten the curve. and what we have got to make sure is we get this out the door so that in the process of flattening the curve, we do not flatten the economy. we owe it to every wage earner, to every small business, and to americans in general. let's take those three areas that many democrats told me today if we just get them trued up, we'll get it across the finish line. that's the gauntlet. -- gauntlet i throw at the leadership on the other side. let's get it done. the american public expects us to. i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas is recognized. mr. cruz: mr. president, this is a time of extraordinary crisis for our nation. in this time of crisis, i call upon each of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to rise above. rise above paid partisanship. rise above the bickering that so often consumes washington. rise above and put first the priorities of the millions of americans who are hurting. look, there is a time for political disagreements. there is a time for policy disagreements. i am no stranger to robust political and policy disagreements. but we are in the midst of a global pandemic.
people are dying. people are suffering. last night, when this senate voted on whether to move forward with emergency relief legislation for the millions of people being devastateed by the economic disaster we're seeing as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, every single democrat in this body voted to block consideration of this bill. now, for those of you at home who are not pouring over a senate procedural matter, what does it mean to vote to block consideration? it doesn't mean they voted against the bill. it means they voted against even starting to take it up. "the new york times" headline moments afterward said democrats block $1.7 trillion stimulus bill. of course, that headline had the fault of being accurate, and so
within minutes "the new york times" changed it. the democrats blocked $1.7 trillion stimulus bill, citing worker concerns. that was headline number two. but then apparently the partisan leanings of the "new york times" were too strong for that, and so they revised it a third time to say partisan division halts discussion of the bill. no, it wasn't partisan division. it was one party, the democratic party, saying to this chamber, the american people hell no, we won't even take this up and discuss it. at a time of crisis, at a time when people are dying, that's wrong. that's shameful. when we awaken this morning, following the democrats' obstruction, worldwide there
were 372,563 reported cases of the coronavirus. in the hours since then, just today, there have been an additional 23,352 cases reported today. while the democrats are blocking the bill, 23,000 new cases today. in the united states when we started this morning, there were 35,224 cases this morning. right now, as of the latest numbers, there are 41,708 cases in the united states today. that means we have had an additional 6,484 cases today while the democrats are blockading. and by the way, where are the democrats? c-span doesn't show this whole chamber often, but it would be nice if they did, because that entire side of the chamber is
empty. they're not showing up for work. they're not doing their job. in texas this morning, there had been 668 cases. as of right now, there are 722. 54 more cases today. while the democrats are blocking consideration of this bill. how about deaths? as we look at this crisis, there are people right now gasping for breath. you and i, we have friends who have been diagnosed with this disease. we have read stories. we have talked to people who have struggled under it. i heard from one individual who is hospitalized right now that breathing felt like a belt strapped across his chest, that he could barely breathe. as of this morning worldwide,
there have been 16,381 deaths, so that's -- i'm sorry. that's the number now. this morning, it was only 15,308. that means today while the democrats have been blocking this bill, 1,073 additional people died. in the united states, as of this morning, there were 471 deaths reported due to coronavirus. as of right now, it's 573. that means today, 102 americans died. while the democrats were blocking consideration of this bill. in texas, as of this morning, there have been eight deaths. now there are nine. one texan died while half this standby refused to show up and do their job. now, this morning when we voted again, we saw the first signs of
cracks. there is one democrat, the senator from alabama, who had voted no yesterday, decided this morning, well maybe we should take up the bill. one. one democrat. where are the rest? there are a lot of democrats who like to hold themselves out as moderate democrats. where are they? right now what the democratic leadership is doing is they are playing games. they are playing games in a way that is irresponsible. listen, this bill has a lot of important elements for a lot of people that are hurting. you have got not only the people who are hospitalized, the people who are suffering, but you have also got economic deaf station, as we have much of this country
has ground to a halt. we have got people who work in restaurants, waiters, waitresses, bellboys who haven't gone to work in over a week. we have people in hotels. i have spoken to business owner after business owner after business owner for the last week. one hotel owner described how he currently had 6% occupancy rates. you can't keep a hotel running with 6% occupancy rates. i talked to one hotel owner who described how he -- you he had made 5,000 layoffs in the last week. another hotel owner had made 6,000 layoffs in the past week. i have talked to an oil and gas business owner who had laid off 5,000 workers in the past week. i talked to another oil and gas business owner who had laid off 5,000 workers in the last week. you know, today i'm thinking about people like my friends at
the republic country club. the republic country club is a bit of a misnomer. it's a barbecue joint outside of houston. it's owned by my friend michael berry. it is be often the venue of country western concerts, the venue sometimes for comedy shows. i went and took my dad to larry the cable guy at republic country club. i have had multiple election night parties at republic country club. it's a big old honky tonk. you've never seen so many confused national reporters as they walked in and looked around and didn't know what to make of the place. father's day a year ago, i did a father's day party at republic country club. my dad, we roasted up two whole
pigs. cook staff at the barbecue place, they made them up and we had a big party, invited people there. it's a cuban tradition to roast a whole pig. why am i telling you about republic country club? because yesterday, which happened to be my father's 81st birthday, yesterday the republic country club announced they are closing the doors. yesterday michael berry sent out a tweet telling first responders, telling police officers and firefighters and everyone on the front line, he said drive by republic country club today, march 23. drive by during the day and we'll give you free barbecue. we're going to cook everything we have. we're going to give it away to go. you can't come in, but we're going to give you to-go boxes. he went on to say they are emptying out all the liquor from the storeroom and from behind the bar. they are giving it to the employees because the employees have all been laid off. he says he doesn't know when they will open again. now, i will tell you those
employees, the bartenders, the bouncers, many of them are veterans. many of them are big guys covered with tats. they are salt of the earth. right now they don't know where the rent check is coming from next week. that's happening all across this country. that's happening not just at one barbecue place in houston. that's happening at bars, it's happening at nail salons. it's happening at movie theaters. i love sunday night to go with a buddy of mine and go watch a movie. movie theaters have shut down all over this country. retail stores, people laid off. nobody is going to the mall right now. and for the people who are hurting, they're scared.
they don't know, number one, if they are going to get sick. but number two, they don't know how they are going to make ends meet. this is a time of crisis. and we ought to be coming together. listen, this bill that we were moving to, i don't necessarily agree with every word of it, but there are a number of elements in this bill that are designed to provide real help to people who are hurting. one element of this bill is to give cash, an immediate check for $1,200 to every person in this country, every adult in this country earning under $75,000 a year. 24-7b hundred dollars for every couple earning under $150,000 a year plus $500 for every child
they have got. now, do you want to talk about real relief? for people who are scared that say what do i do next? those are checks coming in the mail. and what did the democrats say? no, halt the checks. right now those checks aren't coming, and they aren't coming for one reason -- because the senate democrats are blocking taking up that bill. in many circumstances, that would not be the right policy outcome, to just send checks to people, but at a time of crisis where you need people just to be able to make it to tomorrow, putting some resources in their hands makes a big difference. another element of this bill that is being blocked by senate democrats is $350 billion in emergency loans to small businesses, to small businesses like republic country club, the small businesses like restaurants and bars, to small businesses like nail salons and barber shops and movie theaters. and dress shops and hardware
stores. small businesses that are right now putting up the sign saying closed for coronavirus. now, those emergency loans are designed to be given with the condition that they keep their employees on payroll. a lot of these small businesses want to keep their employees on payroll, but they don't have the cash. under the terms of this bill, those loans are forgiven, if, if, if they keep their employees on payroll. by the way, the democratic talking point is, oh, this is just cash to businesses. tell that to the owner of the barbershop who takes an emergency loan to not fire all of her employees. that loan under the terms, if it's forgiven, if the employees stay on the payroll. the democrats are blocking that right now. what about unemployment
insurance? the job numbers coming out shortly i expect to be massive in terms of the job losses. i think we'll see north of 2 million, 3 million people. and the numbers are getting worse. every phone call i have are with more and more people who are losing their jobs. it is bad. it will come back, but it is bad right now. we need emergency support to get people through this dark time. this bill had $250 billion for additional unemployment insurance. what did that mean? that's an additional $600 per week for an additional 13 weeks. if you're one of the waitresses right now who's just been told, your job has gone away and you apply for unemployment insurance, if this bill passes, you get an extra $600 immediately. but you know what? you don't right now, because senate democrats are blocking
this. now, if they have reasonable concerns, they're welcome to raise them. by the way, this bill was drafted with the participation of nearly a dozen senate democrats who were actively part of the task forces submitting suggestions. one of the suggestions the democrats submitted during the drafting was plus-up those your honor insurance numbers and -- those insurance numbers. i tell you yesterday, sunday, most of us thought we were going to move to this. but then nancy pelosi decided it was time to play politics. decided to throw a grenade into the whole process and she had a list of demands, an over 1,000-page bill that she drops out of nowhere and the demands she's pushing, i ask you, do these have anything to do with the coronavirus epidemic?
the a number of people have cited the famed quote from rahm emanuel, never let a good crisis go to waste. sadly, we're seeing the embodiment of that cynical approach right now. because all the people out of jobs, the democrats are using to push, what are they pushing for changing the emissions standards on airplanes. mr. president, what the hell do the emissions standards on airplanes have to do with thousands of people dying and millions of people out of work in the coronavirus epidemic? don't treat this bill like a partisan christmas. and by the way, republicans, we've got things we would like to advance, too. things i believe in deeply. you don't talk about what i'd like to do? i'd like to abolish the i.r.s. i've campaigned on that all over the country. i'm going to continue fighting for that. but, mr. president, i'm not standing here with an amendment
saying, as part of that emergency relief, let's abolish the i.r.s. there's a place for that the political and policy discussion. the democrats are pushing wind and solar tax credits. mr. president, what in the hell does a windmill have to do with this crisis? other than there's some democratic lobbyists getting fat and rich, and they're willing to extort a crisis to try to advance their political agenda. mandates on corporate board diversity. so these are democrats who want to social engineer -- i think we have far too many corporate boards that are dozen sill and do what management wants. that's a serious problem. a lot of discussion about stock buybacks. i tell you what when i get
concerned about stock buybacks. when you have agreements that if they get a short-term boost in share price and it ends up hurting the shareholders. i'd love to see nor vigorous boards of directors that make sure you're not creating incentives to game the stock price. that's a reasonable he question. but they want to planed effective. quotas on boards of directors. what in the hell does that have to do with this crisis? the pelosi pish list wants to revulnerable the debt for the post office. last i checked, our postal workers, they go through wind and rain and snow, but they haven't been laid off. i call upon both sides. don't play games with this. this crisis isn't going to end
tomorrow. it's not going to end the next day. it's going to last for a considerable time. it's going to require adults to step up and lead. on the pandemic, we need to follow the science. we need to listening to the doctors. we need to listen to the physicians. we need to do the steps that we're taking to keep people safe. on the economy, we need to give immediate relief to people who are hurting, and we need to make sure a liquidity crisis doesn't become a solvency crisis. many of the democrats are saying they don't want corporate bailouts. i agree with them. i am passionately opposed to corporate bailouts. one of the things i was gratefully relieved about how this bill was structured is that it structured as loans and not condition-free grants. and it's structured primarily so that it's not picking favored companies that happen to have big lobbying presence in washington. what does this mean to not have
a liquidity crisis become a solvency crisis? let's take, for example, the airlines. i've spoken with just about every major airline c.e.o. in the past weeks. airlines are losing billions of dollars every month. now, they didn't cause that problem, unlike the financial crisis in 2008, this crisis was not caused by misconduct of one industry or another. this pandemic wasn't caused. it's not the airlines' fault that the federal government has shut down flights to asia and to europe. that's not their fault. it's not the owner of the restaurant in downtown houston's fault that the city of houston has shut down the restaurant. that's not that small business owner's fault. now, what we don't want is when the bills come due for all of those businesses, for them to have to sell their assets at a fire-sale. we don't want the restaurant
owner who has the put rhea who saved -- who has the pizzaria who saved, to have to sell the restaurant for pennies on the dollar. we don't want our u.s. airlines to have to put up a garage sale effectively to sell all their airplanes because they're going bankrupt in the midst of a crisis. we want to come out of this with strong, robust commercial airlines sector. we want to come out of this with the small businesses thriving. we want to come out of this with a thriving energy sector. we want to come out of this with jobs. and so, mr. president, i'm going to close this the way i started. my colleague on the -- by calling on democrats, calling on republicans p, rise above petty partisan games. the democratic leaders are playing these games. to every one of you democrats,
listen to the men and women in your states. don't give in to the games. most of the democratic senators say, they don't even know what their side wants that it's just their leadership that's willing to hold the american people hostage for unrelated political, partisan objectives. and, by the way, one of the reasons i think senate democrats are so willing to engage in this is they expect the media to be utterly complicit -- utterly complicit in their cynical gamesmanship. as we stand here this afternoon, it is not only the democratic side of the chamber that is empty, but as i look up to the press, nobody is there. there's not a single reporter sitting in the chamber. you've seen "the new york times" -- actually, there's nobody sitting in the chamber because
they may have changed the chamber. that may have been an unfair assault. butness not unfair to say that "the new york times" is changing their cover line to give political cover for the democrats. this is a time of crisis. it is not a time to play games. it is a time to rise above. it is a time to stand for the men men and women. it is a time to stand for jobs. it is a time to help protect people's lives. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, we've heard a lot of passion here on the senate floor this afternoon, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, and it stems -- it stems from the anxiety, the anger, and the frustration that is being felt across the country
right now. as americans, from alaska to arkansas are faced with the reality of this new day, a monday that they thought they just could never imagine, when last week they had a healthy business and a going concern, and now that business has been ordered shut down. a monday where you thought the kids are going back to school after spring break and now it's not only been announced that they're not going back for a longer spring break, but right now in my state, it's been extended until may 1 that the kid goes back to school. i understand today from my assistant that here -- or in virginia, schools are not going to be going back in; that they
will not go back in for the end of this school year. that's pretty shocking. here we are on a monday, nobody could have imagined. about four hours now ago we were here on this floor to conduct a vote on a motion to proceed to cloture, a motion to get on to a bill, a motion to get on to a bill that had been worked through by good men and women on both sides for days now, and you hit bumps. we do that around here. this is the nature of legislating. but this is not a time for the bumps to derail us. this is not a time that we have that is unlimited to extend
debate, to extend a process when we have folks back home that we answer to that are angry, frustrated, and anxious. at the end of that vote, you heard -- you heard anger from colleagues. they were saying, this type of political games, brinksmanship, call it whatever you will, this is not what the american people deserve, and this is not what we should be doing as a united states senate. and our leader asked us, he said, so where are we? where are we right now? and i think he was speaking more, where are we in the process? we can ask that question in this
body and say, are we a mere hours away from being able to reach agreement here? where we are in the views of so many that are watching this right now,, where the republicans are saying, we must move in this now. we don't have time to wait. daylight is awasting, to a response that we're still workings, we're still working, we're going to try to get this done -- now, we can't just try to get this done. i was asked what i thought about the failure to come together on a vote last opening. i said ailure is not an option. and so, we're continuing to work, but as we work, let's think about where the people that we work for are right now.
we may say that we're stuck on some matters. we've got people that are in places that they never could have imagined on this monday. we've got about 19 alaskans that are stuck in peru trying to get out of a country that has literally gone on lockdown. we were in long conversation yesterday with the folks at the state department trying to figure out how to help them, how to help their families that are back home in alaska that are calling my office every day, sometimes multiple times a day saying what are you doing to help. what are you doing to help not only those 19 alaskans getting out of a place like peru, the pregnant woman with several children, the minor exchange student, the families that are
over there. many of my colleagues were part of that call that were not only interested in those stuck in peru but those that were in guatemala and honduras and el salvador and other parts. we got a good group out of morocco. we're getting calls from alaskans that were seeking to leave the state for other services so they get on the al alcan highway and they're dealing with the reality of a canadian border closure to all nonessential traffic. so we get the calls. what happens if we're going down to seattle for medical? is the veteran that's in the car is going down for medical purposes, is this an essential trip for him? they're saying yeah. what about the spouse in the car? maybe we don't know. the uncertainty that then comes
to those individuals about being stuck. we're not stuck here. those are people that you think about what are we doing to help them because this talk doesn't help them. it's not giving them any degree of certainty, any degree of relief, any belief that we can get anything done. they're looking to us to help them. right now my hometown anchorage is under a hunker down order. our mayor decided he didn't want to call it a stay at home or a stand down. it's a hunker down order and that hunker down order went in place last night. it will go through the end of the month here.
last week, last month i got a call from the mayor who said i'm going to be closing down all the bars, all the restaurants, the entertainment facilities. we've got to work on containment because here in alaska, we're kind of at the end of the supply chain and it's a pretty scary place to be right now. so what defense do we have? we're going to really be aggressive on this shelter in place. my son is a small businessman that provides to the restaurants in town. so when the order comes out that the restaurants are shut down, what does a small businessman like my 25, 26-year-old son now, where does he go? how does he move forward from that monday to this monday? it's pretty scary. we went from a situation on monday of last week where it was just one municipality that ordered the closure of
restaurants and bars to the following day the entire state has a full-on closure. we're a state that is isolated from everybody else in the continental united states. we fly to get home. it is a fact of our life. we had a letter signed by multiple emergency room doctors just last week urging the governor to ba bannon essentialr -- bannon essential air travel. think about what that means. pretty debilitating like a state like mine. you would say that's not going to happen. well, let me tell you what is happening. right now nonessential travel, there is a strict advisory against nonessential travel to the state and within the state.
we have villages in the interior part of the state predominantly that are banning outsiders coming into the village by airplanes. so that might mean visitors coming in which this time of year is pretty tough to have a big tourism industry in the interior part of alaska but the reality is that also means those planes that would be bringing your supplies, if there's a medical emergency, they would ask for relief out. this is how extreme the actions are. because in alaska, we felt fully the impact of the spanish influenza a century ago that took out whole villages. so our native communities as remote and small and isolated as they are are absolutely fearful that we will see a repeat of
that spanish influenza. so if we have to shut off all economic activity, we're doing that. this weekend a huge effort to move our homeless populations out of the crowded shelters into the shutdown sports arena and hockey arena so that we can put them in an area and a place where there is hopefully sufficient -- sufficient six-foot distancing. the hotels around the state, i've listened to our colleagues, we're all in the same situation with the impact that is happening to our businesses as we are shutting down and these business owners are making the difficult decisions that they are. this morning the faxes that i
got from the hotel -- the quality inn in kodiak, alaska, laying off 13 jobs. the -- this is from the baronof hotel in juneau which most of us who have ever spent any time talking to our legislators know this is our most significant hotel in our capital city laying off 45 hotel positions. this is a reality that for them as they are watching what's happening here in the senate or perhaps the inaction that is happening here before the cameras, they're saying do i have alternatives to these layoffs? will there will be the level of
support for me to keep my employees retained, to keep our community moving forward. i received a text from a friend who has china hot springs resort. that resort he's owned now for 22 years. never closed since he has had that in operation. but he is in a position now where he has told all 90 ever his employees -- of his employees you can stay here. we're not open. i'll feed you. and my hope is, is that bernie is going to be able to keep those 90 employees. he's going to be able to pay them through the proposal that we've built into this legislation, that we have an
opportunity to move to if we can only do so. his ask to me in that text was not make sure that it's $150 billion or it has to be a $1.5 trillion. you know what he ended his text to me with was, he said we need to make america kind again. he wants to take care of his family, his work family. and he wants to know that we're going to be responsive to that. that we will show that kindness that we would all hope would come. i'm so discouraged as i listen to the nature of the partisan
words that are on this floor today because that is the last thing this body needs. that is the last thing this country needs. they need assurance from us. they need to have that confidence that we get the urgency, that we hear their cries, and we're not just sitting back here bickering because i haven't got my number one project. or if we're going to make this even steven, if it needs to be one republican priority, it needs to be another democrat priority over there. you know what? we all represent people of
different political persuasions. my job as a senator from the state of alaska is to represent all those alaskans and i would like to think that all alaskans think that protective equipment for our medical providers is a priority for all of us. i would like to think that it's a priority for all of us, for all alaskans that we say it is best to keep those employees as part of your business, to keep that held in place until we can get on the other side of the immediacy of the health crisis so we can avoid a further economic crisis. but instead of this monday the american public and alaskans who
are counting on me back home, instead of them being able to see this hope from their elected leaders that we've got it, that we understand the urgency, what they see are the partisan words. what they see is an empty chamber. what they hear is as much -- as much a measure of dysfunction as everything that they see in their world around them right now. one of the things that our governor has done, and he's -- man, he's made some hard choices in the past week to ten days. he's made some decisions that will have significant and
serious economic impact to a state that is already on its knees. one of the things that he did was he put together what he's calling an alaska economic stabilization task force. and this conservative, republican governor has appointed two cochairs, one cochair is a former republican governor, governor sean parnell, and the other one is one that many of my colleagues here in the senate know, former senator mark begwich. it sent a signal to alaskans take look, we are all in this together, that there are no republican solutions, there are no democrat solutions. there are just solutions. and we better figure them out. and the statement of alaska is working real hard to do that. i was just visiting with some of
our alaska labor leaders. and in addition to the issues that we're talking about, they're telling me that their members -- they're out. they're out making personal protective equipment. they're getting the sewing machines out. getting the fabric at joanne's fabrics and just making things. they're doing what needs to be done. and so when we are reminded that so much good can come together, if we just kind of lay down our partisan arms and say what do we need to do for this country. would do you want for arkansas? what do we need for alaska? what do we need for one another? because right now we don't need the words, the words that you just further separate us as americans. so, mr. president, i -- i
haven't talked about the contents of the bill that we have in front of us because so many before me this afternoon have. i think we all share the desire. i hope we all share the desire to get this done readily, to get it done quickly. because right now, right now, americans are losing hope. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. young: mr. president, growing up, my dad used to tell me on a regular basis that you should never speak up unless you can improve upon the silence. i've tried to take that to heart in my personal life and my professional life. and today i feel like i can improve upon the silence. i have a deep conviction that the united states senate is not
living up to the expectations of the american people. the american people deserve a united states senate as good as the american people. they deserve a united states senate that's responsive when they need government most. i suppose it's fashionable these days to use so many of our institutions in society to elevate ourselves. folks, this institution, this institution, its credibility is at stake. the american people need this institution to function. i was a united states marine after graduating from college. and i never saw a war, mr. president. i never saw a national emergency, a major crisis. i'm very straightforward about that. but i have to say, i was ready for a war.
i was prepared for that big day when the united states of america really, really needed me. and i made sure all my marines were prepared. we were prepared to do our duty when it mattered most. as it relates to this pandemic, i have to say the american people are ready. look around. it makes you proud. are we not a unified people? are we a tribal people? there is a lot of -- a lot of conversation about that among political circles. spend some time in my neighborhood. spend some time back home in indiana right now. maybe it took some separation, some social distancing. maybe it took some time away from work, some time away from social gatherings. maybe it took cancellation unfortunately of march madness, ncaa tournament to remind us all
that we're deeply connected with one another, and we long for those connections, regardless of political philosophy, regardless of the fact that we have an election going on. that's not what is real important to regular people. americans are coming together. they are ready for this emergency. and this is indeed an emergency, make no mistake. look across the country. all the national guards that are being mobilized. this is an emergency that the people in my home state have been responding favorably to. the senate needs to as well. folks in my neighborhood are putting bags of groceries on people's doorsteps that are unable to go out and get groceries themselves. they're -- i know this from my own family. they are calling senior citizens that they know that they think are probably lonely at this time. they're coming together.
back in evansville, one of my friends, j.p. he is a business owner. he is very active in the community. we were on the phone the other day. i think like other members, i have had countless phone calls in the last week or so. business owners, not-for-profit leaders, health care providers, rank-and-file citizens. and this active citizen, this community leader, j.p., in evansville, says that he was on the phone with the mayor, local business leaders, local health care leaders, and a bunch of others from southern indiana, and they were all on the same page. they figured out how to come together, how to solve local problems together. they were all ready to tackle this because they sense what we all sense. the sooner you can tackle these challenges, the sooner the pain will end. the sooner we will reduce
anxiety among our neighbors. they are all determined to work together. in fact, he said he had not seen such unity within the community of evansville, indiana, since 9/11. that says a lot. well, the senate must be ready. this package, the cares act, was negotiated in a bipartisan way. two democrats, two republicans in consultation for each of the various working groups. they put together a package. all came together. it was introduced. it was all bipartisan until it came time to vote on a procedural vote yesterday. you know, this virus may seem to many small because it's impacted a small percentage of our population directly.
and i have to say its impact is growing rapidly. the longer it takes us to come together, the more damage that's going to be done. this is an emergency. it is time for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to take yes for an answer. not play games. so what's this bill do? nothing controversial. it provides additional assistance for health care needs. this is a pandemic. we need more masks. we need more p.p.e. our hospitals are swamped. they can't conduct elective surgeries anymore. their finances are out of whack. we need to help them out. what else does it do? it helps individual americans.
folks are resource constrained right now. they can't go to work. $1,200, at least starts per american, $2,400 for a married couple? an initial $500 if you have dependents, that's really going -- an additional $500 if you have dependents, that's really going to make a difference in hoosiers' lives. we need to make sure people have jobs to go back to once we get through this as well, and that's why this legislation is designed to provide much-needed liquidity for these businesses. they still have debts to pay. they still have debts. they want to make payroll. i can't tell you, i mean, i have talked to so many small business men in tears. i have talked to leaders of our largest corporations as well. i tell you, i talked to a lady
who didn't think things looked real good. we didn't have a whole lot of time to respond to this. meeting payroll, paying your rent, paying your leases, and this is essential. this is not 2008. that was a horrible crisis, but we are coming off the best economy arguably in five decades. and because the economy was so good, people were optimistic about the future. and through no fault of their own, businessmen did sort of the rational thing. they invested in the future -- the property, the plant, the equipment that's required to grow. they were working on taking market share. all of those who believe in the free enterprise system can associate ourselves with what they were trying to accomplish. 2008, a little different. the economy was lethargic.
the bottom fell out of the economy. but in sort of an ironic twist, when the economy is down, people are paying down their debts. they are bolstering that financial -- that balance sheet. they are maintaining some liquid as et cetera in anticipation of further tough times. we don't have that benefit right now. we can measure the prospects of our employers in days. for many of them, it's too late. the united states senate needs to treat this like an emergency because it is an emergency. so what else does this legislation do? this is a category -- let me group together, let me call it incontrovertibly emergency funding. 20 wld for -- $20 billion for
veterans health care. $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other preparedness needs, masks, gloves, ventilators. $75 billion for hospitals, $4.5 billion for the center for disease control, $12 billion for america's military as it helps us respond to this pandemic and so on. that's what the bill's all about. that's what we're fighting about. so what happened? how did things go off track? well, i have got -- and it may surprise some folks, but i have got a very positive relationship with the democratic leader. we just happen to have a lot of principled disagreements. and at the very end of a bipartisan process, when he and other members of his caucus try and insert provisions pertaining to the green new deal.
in other far-left priorities into this package. and that, of course, disrupts our emergency response. now we have speaker pelosi seemingly hijacking the process. that's right. she is over in the house of representatives. she is not even part of this body, and her folks are all home. the house isn't in session. but speaker pelosi wanted to remain relevant. she decided she wanted to get some tv time, i suppose, and so her proposal involves federalizing voting. we can have an honest debate about whether or not it's appropriate to federalize the voting system to mandate, you know, early voting, same-day voter registration. that's something that should be debated in the united states senate because i know it's a priority of so many of my
colleagues. again, elements of the green new deal. we can debate whether or not there has to be a full offset of airline emissions by 2025 some other time. we can debate whether or not greenhouse gas statistics for individual flights should be widely available. let's work on that separately after we help the american people. let's not work on pet priorities. we can debate permanent paid leave, permanent paid leave granted by the federal government some other time. this is a pandemic. it's an economic emergency, a public health emergency. the american people want a response. they don't want us to focus on this right now.
i have made a lot of phone calls in recent days back home. none of this is possible without the wherewithal, without the hard work of sturdy americans, without great american innovation. none of the resources that are required to actually sustain our government, feed our families. people need places to work. here's what's happening in indiana. a little snapshot. the r.v. industry, the global headquarters of the recreational industry is elkhart, indiana. we're seeing r.v. companies temporarily shutting down in indiana, and i know we're seeing it across the country. the hotel industry, today the two largest hospitals in indianapolis had to shut their doors. i'm not just talking about buildings shutting their doors. this closure is going to mean the loss of employment for about
780 full-time workers. think of all the family members that depend on those workers. this is an emergency. the auto industry. hoosiers proudly manufacture the components for our auto industry. they assemble those components into finished automobiles. it's -- that industry has been brought to a halt on account of this unique crisis. and the worst we hear is yet to come. airlines. they're feeling the most immediate impact. i flew the other day from my home in the indianapolis area, flew out of the airport to washington, d.c. there wasn't -- this wasn't a charter flight. i was the only passenger. i was the only passenger on the aircraft. we know that's not a sustainable business model when you're
paying for the fuel. you have a pilot and a copilot and a flight attendant and me. this is an emergency. st. elmo's steakhouse. one restaurant -- restaurants across the state of indiana that have had to close their doors. st. elmo's just had to do it. first time it's ever had to do it since 1902. they were able to keep their doors open during the 1918 flu pandemic. this is an emergency. the senate needs to act. we have sanje patel, he is the president of an indiana-based company. he and my team spoke recent i will. he said he had to lay off at least 100 workers just last week.
with another 150 layoffs like lay this week. these are families. these are individuals who take pride in their work. they want to go back to work. here's what sanjay said. sanjay said, we're thinking of closing a few of them here. it's just deteriorating every day. it was worse last night than the night before, and it was worse the night before than two days ago. it's just deteriorating, and i think it's just a matter of time until we close down. it's an emergency. it's not time for nancy pelosi's priorities. it's time for the american people's priorities. we have a baking shop with locations in the carmel, in indianapolis that had to lay some workers off. their owner said, my heart goes
out to my cake bake family whom i was forced to lay off during this horrible virus. i'm working with my banks, my insurance company, my accountant, and the government to try and create some sort of relief, some support for my team. i'm doing everything in my power to help all 170 of them. all tips received at both of our bakery counters will be divided and shared with our servers. hoping to get through this difficult time together. coming out on the other end with the safety and health for our families. i heard from a small optometry practice in north vernon. they have 12 employees. the owner say, we simply don't have the cash to fund their wages while they're off work.
i'm saving what cash i have to pay them. their vacation and personal day time. we are in trouble and need help. this isn't somebody who's used to asking for help. this is the time to give them help. let's not allow this legislation to be hijacked. let's live up to the high standards of the american people. at this difficult moment, let's come together, like we did in 9/11, like our country that is so consistently when the chips are really done. -- really down. let's all take a part in this effort. i encourage all of my constituents and anyone else around the country to encourage your senators, republicans and democrats alike, stand up, speak
out, send e-mails, tell your neighbors. it's time for this body to move. it's time for us to deal with this crisis once and for all. we'll make america great again from the bottom up. doesn't have to take that long. we can bounce back. but the longer we wait, the harder it will be. let's do our jobs. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i'm getting a lot of redundancy around here, but it's worth it. i've been sitting here for several hours now listening to my colleagues. i don't recall in the 25 years
i've been here of seeing this happening over and over again. and everything that is said is so significant because, you know, when the senator from alaska talked about the fact that we're all in this together, you know, we are. and things were going well for a while. i'm actually going to, i think, end with a little bit of an optimism right now. i may be the only one doing that. because i think something is going to happen tonight. i think it has to happen tonight. we don't have the luxury of waiting. now, i've never seen a crisis like this. we're not used to dealing with crises. gosh, we've been through wars. we've been through things that we've considered to be a crisis. this is a different dimension. we're talking about people, you know, who are dying. you know, the coronavirus -- you know, we all know where it came
from. wuhan in china. it's caused global panic. by the way, they call it a pandemic, if there is a reason for that. because this isn't something that's just happening in the united states of america. this is happening all over the world, everywhere. no one is immune. and it's something that we don't have a cure for right now. you know, when the senator from indiana kept using the word emergency, this is an emergency. it's an emergency unlike any that we've seen so far. i mean, it's something that's highly contagious, something that we can't do anything about. no one is immune. as of sunday, according to the whorled -- world health organization, there are 270,000 cases globally and almost -- let me put that in a different perspective. i have had the honor in the last several days -- and i'm talking about including the weekend -- of talking to people in oklahoma. and i've talked to, i think this
morning we talked to every single radio, television, and newspaper in the state. and i always start my speeches out to make sure everyone understands why this is not anything that we've done before, why it's so significant, because the contagious -- and i explained to people, if you take -- today is the 23rd. let's take the 22nd and the 21st. if you go back to the 20th of march -- that was last friday -- we had at that time 218 cases -- 218 -- i'm sorry, 210,000 cases that were known. they've been contaminated. two days later, it was 322,000. now, look at the ones who have died. on the 20th, that was yesterday -- that was sunday --
8,800 people died. but two days before that, it was 13,714. now, that's globally. look at here in the united states of america. in 2020, it was 10,500 people that contacted it. and then just two days later, it was 31,000. it tripled in two days. that's what we're facing right now on the deaths p. they tripled. the same thing. 150 deaths on march 20. 390 deaths on the 22nd, two days later. now, that puts it in a category. we've never had anything like that to talk about. and people -- the reason i do that, and when i'm talking to people in oklahoma, it's like a lot of people -- and i've been in this position before when it looked like we're over-reactive, it looked like we're creating a crisis, something that hasn't happened before, but in this case, this is a crisis, and so
it's important. there are a lot of people around who are thinking, well, this kind of -- it is not this big of a deal. in this case, it is. so at the same time we have thousands of americans that are losing their jobs. you know, we've been listening to that -- this on the floor for a long period of time. and sometimes it's important to be redundant, to talk about these things. the people who are being forced to shut down without any sense of when they might reopen -- i had -- you're spared probably 15 minutes or so of the examples i had in my state of oklahoma, bakeries and others. the senator from indiana did a good job, and i think that would be unnecessary to go over all of that. we all have those stories. there is a not member, republican or democrat in this body, who have in had these experiences and could talk about the experiences. and so we started working --
this is going to sound pretty phony when i say this. but i was so proud -- and i talked about how proud i was of the democrats because until just yesterday we were all working together. you know, we're having our meetings. i was with mitch mcconnell and he was showing the progress that we were having and the democrats were cooperating. we really thought really good things were going to to happen. we really believed that. and so we've been working around the clock in the bipartisan negotiations, the relief that this weekend substantial progress was being made on a comprehensive phase three. now, let's keep in mind this is phase three we're talking about now. this is one that i anticipate tonight we'll vote successfully on. we have to do it. because if we don't do it, people are going to die. this is not like, you know, it's going to cost so much money if it's -- or some people are going to be inconvenienced. people are dying.
so we had these bipartisan negotiations, and i thought we were doing great work. while the senators have been working here on solutions to this crisis, the democratic house has been on recess. i am not really concerned that they can do that. that's fine. but that didn't stop the speaker of the house -- and this is when are the problem came. everything was great until last night. up until the vote time -- we were going to vote at 6:00 last night and we thought we were going to be successful in that vote last night. what we didn't know is that the speaker came back, even though they are on recess, and she threw a wrench into everything we were doing, all the bipartisan talks. she came to town and decided to make this a partisan exercise. house democrats are now demanding the far-left wish of radical policies be included in otherwise a bipartisan agreement. and i think what their feeling
was, we're going to spend all this money. we've got to get everything in there, if it has nothing to do with the crisis, if it has nothing to do with the virus, then we want -- this is the time to do it. and so the idea was they wanted to spend more. let me -- and i think the senator from indiana did a good job of talking about some of the provisions that we're talking about. but i want to ask, you know, is there anybody out there right now who's a conservative? is there anyone out there who's really kept track of what kind of spending we're talking about here? i've never seen anything like it. spending -- remember, phase one, the emergency supplemental,led'd the $8 billion. testing kids and that. people understood that. that was $8.3 billion, phase one. phase two came along, and by the way, i have to admit that was the one phase i voted against nor this reason. oklahoma is a little different than a lot of other states. we have a larger number of small
businesses in oklahoma than most other states have. and they're the ones that we have been talking to. we've been talking to them because they're going to be recognizing after all the efforts they've made in their careers and what they've done, they were going to go out of business. so one of the things they said that they had to be corrected was found in phase two. in phase two, it says -- it says there that when they mandate small business do things like paid leave and other expenditures, that's fine for them to go ahead and do that if the federal government is going to refund the expenses for that. and they were going to do it. but not for several weeks. and so our position was, those of us who had a lot of small businesses, our position was that, you know, we wanted to make sure that when phase three comes, that we have a provision in there that would change that. so that if in any event you end up having to pay for mandated
things, paid leave and other things for your employees, that's great. it's great that you're doing it because there's no other way, and this crisis that we're in the middle, that they can do t but they're going to change this it. so in this change that we're going to be voting on hopefully tonight -- and i think we are -- it's going to change it so that they'd be paid to be reimbursed when the time came. those who aren't conservatives out there i want you to keep track of what we're talking about. get a paper and pencil out. write these things down. the total amount of this phase three is going to be somewhere around $1.6 trillion. that's a "t" we're talking about. not billion. this is a trillion. and when -- and if look at the things that are in there like the major problems and the corrections that were made in phase two, that's part of this that's going on. the small businesses, $350
billion -- write it down, add it up as we go along here -- $350 billion and that is to take care of some of the problems that came out that didn't -- weren't addressed in phase two. we're talking about things -- loans up to $10 million to individuals through 2020, all employers -- and that would be employers up to 500 employees are eligible for this. that means the repayment -- these are loans but that's going to be delayed for one year. we don't have to pay back a portion of the loan -- most of that would have to be paid back but still, that's $350 billion. health care provisions. we have $75 that go to hospitals. $75 billion that goes to hospitals. health care providers throughout the country. and these are for mostly larger
hospitals. then you have a smaller amount, $275 million that would expand services to rural hospitals. now, in the state of oklahoma, we have a lot of rural hospitals. a lot of our rural hospitals have gone under. i can remember one time back when bill clinton was the president, we had this great thing. all my conservative friends were voting to support this, and this was a budget balance minimum that would bring the deficit down but it was doing it on the backs of rural hospitals. now, at that time i was ranked as the most conservative member of the united states senate, and i voted against it. all my conservative friends say wait a minute, how can you do that? we can do that because we have to have in the state of oklahoma take care of our rural hospitals. that's in there, $275 million. add it up. write it down. $3.5 billion, that's for vaccine development. that has to be done.
we've got to find a cure for this thing. they're doing it every day, new ideas that are coming along. the same thing that can be done for malaria is the same thing that can be done for other problems. again, but the cost is there. we're going to have to do that. $3.5 billion. then there's a $2 billion item for our national security stock people. how many people knew that there's such a thing as a national security stockpile? they don't know. i'm a member of the united states senate. i can't even tell you where it is. and the reason i can't is it's classified. people are not supposed to know where it is. but nonetheless, there are things like masks, gown, ventilators and that type of thing. it's a smaller amount, only $2 billion. but write it down. put it in there. then there's the $500 billion. that's the support for individuals. this is the one i hear mostly about from conservatives. so conservatives, listen carefully. there's going to be a cash payment to individuals of
$1,200. here's a check for $1,200. now that would be for people in categories that are not wealthy people but if they're married, it wouldn't be $1,200. it would be $2,400. that is per individual. for each kid would be $500 additional. so that amount is out there and that's a part of this thing. a lot of people, particularly conservatives look at it and they don't like it. but, see, this is different. this is different than anything else we've done before. we're trying to survive right now. people are dying every day. i hope i don't have to go out and repeat what we started out on how many people are dying every day. unemployment benefits, think of the cost of that. 39 weeks of unemployment benefits for the coronavirus job losses. and that's in -- in addition to that, they have benefits that increase by $600 a week.
usually the states pay for it. states can't do it. great governor in the state of oklahoma and yet he's not able to do that. we never anticipated the expenses that we're going to have. we never anticipated what's happened to our income that -- the revenues that come into the state that we've always expected since statehood in oklahoma which wasn't that long ago comparing to other states. that's something that we know the cost of and we've never had to have the loss of revenue in the state of oak like we're -- in the state of oklahoma like we're having today. unemployment benefits, 39 weeks of unemployment benefits for the job losses, coronavirus. student loans, western' talking -- we're talking the loss of unemployment benefits $600 a week. as i say normally that's paid for by the state but not in this
case. emergency loans for distressed industries in states. $500 billion in total. now, this is where -- and people are talking about -- the speaker right before me talked about coming here in an empty airplane. i came in on monday, a week ago today. and there is only -- there was only 14 people on a 737 airplane. obviously that's something you can't continue. so we have that and then we also have -- take care of the cargo people. it's $50 billion for passenger air and $8 billion for cargo air. now, i say this because i want you to keep adding this stuff up. then you have another figure, $17 billion for national security firms. then that leaves about $425 billion for the treasury if they determine that something has been overlooked and so they are
-- they could take care of that. i say this and i started out saying i want the conservatives in america to be listening because as of now, they had me down as the most conservative member of the united states senate. so i want you people out there who have been adding this up to realize that even i here with that background are saying we're -- we're dealing with something we've never been dealt with before. and so as we look -- we see the tax credits for solar and some of these things that are part of the liberal agenda, this is something that's going on and that's what we're dealing with right now. everything was great until last night. we were making great headway and i was complimenting the democrats and the cooperation we had and we can get that back again. but this temporary that came in where all of a sudden you have
the speaker of the house looking at her liberal agenda and saying hey, there's a lot of money out there. let's get mine and -- let's get in line and do that. they want money for emissions standards. what's that got to do with the virus? it means nothing. it has nothing to do with it. it's not what americans want and these things have nothing to do with the crisis. i have to say that pelosi is going to have to wake up and take this seriously and stop playing political games. and that's got to happen now. it's got to happen tonight. we don't have time. stop and calculate, every day that we leave, how many people are dying within that time. we've never been faced with that before. it's time for the political games to quit. and they want us to work together in this package. i think this is what we are going to be doing. so for the last few weeks i've been complimenting the senate democrats for the efforts that they're making and all that
happened came to a halt last night. i've been saying this is a crisis. democrats and republicans have been putting politics aside and that's what's got to happen. not if we're lucky next week. it has to happen tonight. it wasn't until 6:00 last night the senate democrats were fully cooperating until that happened. now, that came across pretty quick. let me make one comment. it hasn't been said enough. i know there's a lot of hate trump people out there. i see them all the time. i love the guy. he's done a great job. when you stop and think about what he has done in this country and a lot of people are trying to build a case, some of the hate trump people, that he didn't move on this quick enough. well he did. this whole thing happened in january and the first thing he did was stop the traffic coming into this country from china. he did it. he didn't sit around and wait. deit immediately. then he declared an emergency. all of these things he did
immediately. he had the daily press conferences. i hope people are watching that. because he's sitting back and having the top medical people in america be talking about the problems that we're having. and so now we have -- this is kind of good news because we started this thing with the best economy we've had in my lifeti lifetime. even those individuals who are the hate trump people have to realize that this is -- the economy is the best economy that we've had. and he did it for a couple of ways that he did it. first of all, the big tax cut. there are two things that caused this. one was the tax cut. i have a reason for bringing this up right now at the conclusion of my remarks, and that is that that when we had the tax cut, it wasn't a republican idea. it was a democrat idea. that was john kennedy. he was president in 1964. what did he say? he said with the great society
coming on, we've got to get more revenue. we've got to get more revenue and the best way to increase your revenue is to decrease the marginal tax rates. and he did it and it worked. and unfortunately he died and could not reap the benefits of that success. so the revenues came in rapidly at that time. now, other efforts for reducing taxes have been successful, too, but this president, president trump, he coupled that with doing away with overregulations. i can remember mine, i was very happy that mine was the first bill that he signed. it was a regulation put together back during the previous administration that said if you're a domestic oil or gas company and you are competing for business with china or somebody else, you have to give
them your whole playbook on how you calculated your -- that was giving them the distinctive advantage. it was part of the war on fossil fuels that this president had at that time. anyway, so when this new president was elected, i went ahead and passed a bill to repeal that regulation. so the overregulations, that's what made it very successful. he's appointed right now 190 new conservative judges. people who are not conservatives, don't feel that strongly about the constitution, they're not excited about that. 192 conservative judges. we haven't had that many judges in the first term of a president in the history of this country. including, of course, two judges in the united states supreme court. pro-israel. a lot of people don't like israel. they're sympathetic with others. how many presidents have said we want to move the capitol of israel to jerusalem? he's the one who has done it. we've rebuilt the military.
how many people know this? i chair the committee that's called the senate armed services committee. i have the responsibility of trying to get us rebuilt. we lost during the obama years, the last five years of obama, he actually reduced the amount of money for our defense by 25%. it's never happened before. so i say this because we now have a great advantage. we're going to correct this thing. i think it's going to happen tonight. i'm really optimistic it will. because if it doesn't, people are going to die. people are dying right now. when that happens, we're going to go back when we get this rebuilt and get beyond the crisis that we all talked about today, that we're in the middle of right now, when that happens, we're going to go back and we will be thanking god that we started this whole thing with one of the best economies we've ever had. so i really believe tonight -- you know, when we're looking at the fact at what's happening every day and i'm not going to
go back and repeat it but we know it's happening, the numbers of people that are dying on a daily basis. every day that we put this off, people are dying. so with that reason, i really think right now somewhere in the capitol in a room we've got democrats and republicans that are going to come to some kind of an agreement. i don't care when it is. it can be midnight. it can be any time. it's got to happen. we are out of time. it is a crisis. we don't have the luxury of time. it's going to have to be done. it's going to have to be done tonight. with that i yield the floor. mrs. blackburn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. you know, it is so interesting to sit here and to listen to our colleagues because the thing that touches me most is that we are all talking to, talking with, and listening to our constituents and certainly tennesseans are talking with us and expressing some of their
fears. today earlier i had a call from a small business owner that is in tennessee. and she said, i'm going to throw one of your lines back at you. and i said, well what is that? and she said, i've heard you say before that sometimes so and so was on your last nerve. and i said, yes, you have heard me say that. and she said, well, you people in washington now are on my last nerve. i said really. she said oh, yes. oh, yes. you know, i don't want my children to know that i'm afraid. i don't want them to hear me be fearful. but inside i am screaming in silence because i need you all to get something done. see, this is a typical small
business owner. she and her husband started a business. they struggled, they struggled until the tax cuts and jobs act came along. and what happened? they saw growth. and this main street business became their embodiment of the american dream. they were excited. things were good. and today, she is saying i don't know if we should hang onto our employees. i don't know if we should close the doors. i don't know what we should do. and you all can't make a decision. so i told her i fully understood where she was because it makes me anxious, too, and it disappointments me tremendously. i think there is a lot to be said about negotiating in good
faith, and exercising good faith and honesty to the people that you want to work with. and certainly the majority leader and the task forces felt that they were working in good faith. and what they had structured sounded really good to a lot of tennesseans. you had a bill that basically was health care assistance, food assistance, and financial assistance. different pickets. but most importantly, they were components that would meet the needs. and we discussed some of these. for small businesses and independent contractors and sole proprietors and the self-employed, and i do think marco -- thank marco rubio and
susan collins for working with me on making certain that we included those entities. you're talking about $250 billion that would be there through unemployment insurance, and these sole proprietors and small businesses would be able to go into that and stand themselves up by drawing that money down, keeping people employed and then having it serve as a grant. also, for our rural communities, telehealth, and for our hospitals, $75 billion. but putting this emphasis, it was a good thing. let's take health care to the person instead of the person having to move to the health care. great common sense. in this bill that our friends across the aisle walked away
from. they walked away from it. they said no to the unemployment benefits, no to small business, no to telehealth. then, you know, there was also the additional funds that would be there for employers to keep them working so that these jobs would be there. now, i will tell you this -- most folks like the small business owner that i have talked about today, they are offended when they hear about back room negotiations and private negotiations. what they want to do is to see action. they want to see us on this floor. they are probably a little bit amused that there is not one single democrat coming down here to defend their vote. not one.
they are not down here. they are not speaking up as to why they do not want to help. but what were they willing to do? the house is gone. they have been gone now for ten days. they are not here. they are not working. speaker pelosi came back, nancy came right on back into town, threw a grenade into the negotiations. wants to write her own bill. that bill is something -- i have to tell you. i looked through it before i came down here because i thought surely they are not so far off the reservation as i was beginning to hear, but oh, yes, they are. tax credits for solar energy and wind energy. that has no place in negotiating
a package to address the issues from covid-19. it has zero connection to that. tax credits for solar energy. it's one of their big wishes, the green new deal. they have been all about it. but this is where they're going to put their emphasis. even they had one of their members of leadership saying the global coronavirus pandemic is a tremendous opportunity to restrict things to fit a progressive vision. there they go. there they go again. don't let this crisis go to waste. let's load this up. this is a vehicle that is moving. here we go. this is a way we can get the green new deal. this is how we can realize our
socialist dream. this is how we go for government control. you got it, baby. this bill is moving. let's load this up. also, they have provisions in here to force employers to give special treatment to big labor. that has nothing to do with solving this crisis that we face right now. it has nothing to do with the small business owner figuring out if they're going to lay people off or they're going to be able to meet payroll. since i have been down here on this floor, two phone calls. one from somebody in the hotel business. another from somebody with a real estate firm. help me. help me with this. should we lay this off? are you all going to get something done? is there going to be something that will help us?
another of her dreams. early voting, and she wants to have early voting and day-of voting. oh, yes. let's pack the ballot box. here we go. oh, and all these states, by the way, california, illinois, new york, states that cannot manage their affairs. states that are running up their state income tax, states that have more debt than revenue. come on. let's bail them out. this is the vehicle. we can go ahead and help these blue states, send them the money because they have been reckless with the taxpayers' dollars. bail them out. new emissions standards for the airlines. let me tell you something. wanting to make the airline industry carbon neutral by 2025, let's have that debate another day.
but i want to tell you something right now. you have heard others talk about being the only person on the plane, one of 14 on the plane, one of five on the plane. right now, keeping the planes flying is the issue. because until we have answers for this health crisis, people are not going to go back to work and planes are not going to fly. common sense would go a long way in these discussions. they also want to micromanage corporate boards. they want total and complete student loan forgiveness. they want $20 billion to bail out the postal service. i could go on and on. it is the socialist progressive wish list. throw it all out there and then
blame it on us when they don't get it. try to force some of it onto the bill. there were democrat senators that helped to negotiate this bill. they got provisions in this bill, many provisions that they wanted in this bill. i didn't get everything i wanted. i thought my goodness, i prefer to see that we would refund all of the income tax you have paid this year for individuals and businesses. the system is set up, the money could be backed out. i like the payroll tax holiday. that's something as a conservative i have supported for quite a while. why should anybody have to pay the federal government for the privilege to hire somebody, and why should an employee have to pay the federal government for the privilege of working? common sense. i also would have liked to have
seen us use the -- the employment security system for getting money to employees set up. it's coordinated with the states. these are all things i would have liked to have seen. i knew i wasn't going to get everything that i wanted, but i will tell you this. when i read that there is a letter, a dear colleague letter that has gone out in the house from speaker pelosi and she has boasted that the majority leader had to postpone the vote, the motion to proceed, thanks to the minority leader they didn't get the 60 votes required. i look at that and i think what kind of joy do you take in that? because there was a measure that had bipartisan support in the
senate, a measure that would bring relief to small businesses and to families and to friends who are receiving a diagnosis, a positive test for covid-19, people that are worried about how they're going to meet payrol this week, workers who are worried if they are going to have a job, small business owners that are crying inside because they do not know what we are going to do, and our colleagues across the aisle are absent from the floor, and the colleagues on the other side of the dome have been away for ten days, and they're not offering a
rational solution. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, this is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision. opportunity to fit our vision. now, mr. president, that's a quote. not from some communist activist leader somewhere in the united states. not from some third-world general. no, that's from the third ranking democrat in the united states house of representatives. let that sink in for a minute,
mr. president. read it again. this is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision. and i thought a bogus impeachment was shameful enough, but clearly not. mr. president, people in this country are dying. they're dying literally. people are losing their jobs every day literally. more and more people are getting sick every day, mr. president, and that's why senators rushed back here. we rushed back here to pass the house bipartisan legislation that was negotiated between the president and speaker pelosi. then, then we let both sides work on the next steps. we passed that bill within less than 24 hours of receiving it from the house. as imperfect as it was, we passed it with 90 senators
voting for it. that's how bipartisanship works, mr. president. we worked around the clock to craft a plan, and we succeeded. and now here we sit, listening to our democratic colleagues pretend this is a partisan plan, as if they weren't sitting in the room as it was being negotiated. many of their ideas are in this bill. but why are they doing that? i'll tell you why they're doing it. because when we see a rising body count, they see a political opportunity. shame on them. the trump derange many syndrome is accelerating the coronavirus, and they should be ashamed of themselves. they see a chance to impose their vision, their left-wing radical vision on our country because they think they can force it past us during this crisis. their extreme partisan obstruction has blinded them. what has happened to this place, mr. president? why are they even here? attempts to work across the
aisle, honest attempts, attempts by rank-and-file republicans and rank-and-file democrats have resulted in our democratic colleagues creating a revisionist view of what we have been doing and blind political opportunism just to advance their extreme left-wing agenda. an agenda in a includes something like the green new deal, something that had a vote on the floor of the united states senate. get how many of them voted for it? none. and yet now that's the agenda, that's their vision, that's the opportunity that they see. how about socialism for the entire economy as a whole? it wasn't enough just for the energy sector. not enough just for the health care sector. not enough just for the banking sector. let's just have socialism. let's debate which democratic presidential candidate is the best socialist. how about hurting our farmers and ranchers, our restaurant workers, our manufacturers,
welders, everybody. mr. president, we're not even asking them to vote on this plan. the vote last night was not on the bill. the vote this afternoon was not on the bill. it was simply a vote, a procedural vote to begin the debate to continue the negotiations on the bill. not one moment would have been lost. but guess what? now over a day has been lost while we dither. and we're asking that when they do finally agree to help that the -- help the american people, that instead of killing the economy, as they've been doing, and the jobs, that we're ready to act on the bill. but, no ... not good enough for them. many of my colleagues have talked about what's in the bill. to $4 billion for the centers for disease control. do you think they could use it? how about $9 billion for the highlight nutrition. do you care, democrats, will child nutrition, and we've often heard you talk about it. where is it now? how about $20 billion for
veterans, mr. president? they don't care about that? $50 billion for our farmers i spoke b how about $75 billion for health care providers? do you think your health care providers could use a little more assistance, democrats? i think they could. and they need it now. they needed it yesterday. how about $350 billion for the small businesses that employ all those people that are now getting fired because they can't keep their doors open? but that's not even worth a debate to our democratic colleagues. oh, no. and apparently it's now all back open for debate. reports today say that the minority leader is holding the $50 billion for farmers launch so they can get more of the opportunity to structure things to fit their vision. partnersly, the majority leader either forgot or you never knew that food doesn't come from the deli, mr. minority leader. food comes from the farmer.
there's no sandwich in the new york deli without the farmer. there's no meat without the rancher raising the livestock. no, they don't make that food in the deli, mr. minority leader. and who started owl of this? it wasn't him. he tried to be helpful for a while, or at least it appeared so. so, it wasn't him. it wasn't even an uprising of the rank-and-file democrats. it wasn't a breakdown in negotiations between the republicans and democrats. it was the house speaker, nancy pelosi, flying in here on an airplane powered by fossil fuels. maybe those fossil fuels were even made l. by some oil from alaska or north dakota or texas, demanding an expansion of, what? the renewable energy tax credits and other parts of her extreme radical left-wing agenda.
what in the hell does that have to do with the coronavirus? the absurdity of it speaks for itself. that's what we've learned to expect from the majority of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle and the other chamber of congress. ever since the freshman democrat from new york became the de facto speaker of the house. but that's the house, mr. president. we're not the house. we're the senate. we're supposed to be the adults in the room. and yet some of our colleagues are here acting like petulant children when there are people suffering who don't know what to do or where to turn for help. mr. president, they're turning to us. we're it. we're the help. we're driving the ambulance. all the while the speaker of the house tries to steer us into the ditch while the minority leader of the senate hangs on for dear life in the passenger seat. why would those people come to us anymore? the house speaker doesn't care about them. she cares about renewable fuel taxdiwhere is rural america supd
to do to go? the democratic leader sees them as a political pawn. hostage, $50 billion for farmers. let's hold that one up. maybe we can get more of what fits our vision, our radical agenda. apparently helping these people doesn't matter to them. i have news for you, mr. president. i have news for the minority leader. while democrats dither, americans are dying. that's a real fact. in here tont and let's pass this legislation. let's get it done and get the money to the people who need it most. and i yield the floor. a senator: thank you, mr. president. mrs. loeffler: once g.n.p. i stood at this podium yesterday calling on senate to put
politics aside and provide relief to the american people, many on the front lines of thisser with a. yet chuck schumer and senate democrats have turned their backs on them, encouraged by nancy pelosi. people are getting sick. they're worried about their families. they're losing jobs, schools are closed, small businesses are days away from shutting their doors and hospitals are running out of equipment, cash, and room. doctors and nurses are without objectioning around the clock -- doctors and nurses are working around the clock and they are our first line of defense. people are suffering. a hospital in tipton, georgia, faces such you is veer equipment shortages that they're forced to wear trash bags as protection. many rural hospitals in georgia only have days of operating cash left. also in rural georgia, children go to the bus stop to pick up the local paper. that's their education for the day while their schools are closed.
in cartersville, georgia, they were forced to lay off all their staff just to remain open. in athens, georgia, at virus has turned a college town into a ghost town. the virus is devastating its economy, like too many others. all over the state, waiters, waitresses, shop mechanics, shop keepers wonder how will i care for my family? for the last two weeks i've been continually talking with people of georgia -- cancer patients whose procedures have been canceled, families whose entire livelihoods are wiped out, people and businesses that can't pay rent be, the mortgage, the car payment, groceries, get lifesaving tests and procedures, families forced to cancel weddings and funerals. while the effects of this disease tears through our communities, thousands of
americans are infected and also facing millions -- and also millions are facing layoffs. they are fighting with all they have. but what are schumer and pelosi doing? nothing. democrats continue to politicize this rescue. how many people must be hurt for them to leave their selfish partisanship behind and get relief to our fellow americans? while the rest of america comes together, like the savannah salvation army who holds church services outside or meals on wheels, delivering meals to seniors, democrats are playing games and holding desperately needed relief hostage. america does not deserve this. nancy pelosi and chuck schumer are putting solar panels ahead of people. meanwhile, president trump and his administration are working around the clock to address this crisis, but the democrats continue the resistance.
i know folks at home see it for what it is -- politicians who won't miss their own paycheck, their own benefits, they won't miss their home payments, their car payments. they're tucked away safely behind their coffee carts in their offices taking advantage of the moment, pushing ideas that could never pass in congress. a bipartisan bill was ready to go this weekend. this delay is entirely on their backs. i.t. the worst of washington -- it's the worst of washington and it's disgusting. the american people must hold democrats to account. i will keep fighting for georgians and all americans with my colleagues, and i will not leave here until our work is done. i yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: 24 hours ago we thought we would have this
legislation passed and it would be on its way to the house of representatives and on its way to the president soon this week for his signature so we could respond to the crisis that we're in. this legislation that you've heard several speeches tonight about is the answer to the crisis. the economic crisis, just like two other pieces of legislation we passed in the last two weeks and signed by the president, responded to the public health crisis. america is suffering. i don't have to tell you the stories of personal hardship and the loss -- particularly economic but now real-life loss -- because of that virus.
this serious health crisis is quickly becoming a serious economic crisis. through no fault of their own, americans have been sidelined to fight the virus and the economy is unraveling as a result of the public health crisis. every hour more people are being laid off. every hour more businesses are closing their doors. every hour families are being forced to figure out how they're going to pay their bills. without a doubt, this is a crisis. hundreds of thousands of people this week going to the unemployment office. but you wouldn't know it by watching the senate democrats
drag their feet on much-needed relief for americans, not just for americans -- to get the entire economy moving. so how has this evolved to the point that it has now? last night, number one, and not once today but twice today -- so three times we've tried to get this bill up on the united states senate floor just for debate. we've been filibustered on procedural votes just to allow us to debate this relief package. it's a package that we've been working on on a bipartisan way for several days now. this sort of activity by the democrats -- democrat senators is outrageous.
they're blocking a bill that includes relief that we all agree is needed for the american people. they say that this wasn't a bipartisan effort. that's what we've heard all day. really? well, i've had very good working relationships, very good dialogue, some disagreement, but coming together with my democrat colleague on the finance committee, several of my democrat colleagues on the finance committee. in meetings on friday, saturday to work out a bipartisan bill that we could be voting on you no. so they say it wasn't a bipartisan effort. really? and who were all those people sitting in the same room i was
negotiating around the clock for multiple days? the fact is that we worked with democrats on this bill, and we worked in good faith together, both sides, and we included many provisions that democrats wanted because we started with what republicans thought was a good bill to solve these economic problems. and so we had to change some republican issues, we had to had some democrat issues. in fact, they don't want to admit it, in the legislation, but many of my colleagues on the other side just this very day have come to the senate floor to brag about the areas where we
agree. these are provisions in this bill. but in the same breath, they call this a partisan bill. that makes no sense. why would they want to say that a bill that we worked on several days working out differences it democrats and republicans, that it's a partisan bill? they also claim that this bill contains so-called corporate bailouts and not enough funding for workers and health care providers. well let me say that loaning money to small business and big business that has to be paid back, in the case of small business under this bill, i have to admit that if they -- if they have less than 500 employees and they get benefit from it and they don't lay anybody off, it
will be a forgiven loan. but for really large corporations, let's say like getting the airlines flying again because the public depends on them, because there's millions of jobs connected to the airlines. giving them loans is a bailout? no, it's not. it's a jobs bill. so those millions of people working for the airlines can continue to work and the flying public can fly when they want to fly. that's my response to the fact that this is not a corporate bailout like they want you to believe. and no help for individuals. but let's look at the facts for helping individuals. this bill would send $1,200 to almost every american immediately. if it's a family, couples, $2,400. and families would get $500 for
each child and it's meant that this money would be out to these families that need this help as just as fast as the i.r.s. can get it out. and it's no different than what we did in 2008 with the great recession that we were going into at that particular time. this bill also responds to what democrats asked us to do. beep up the unemployment insurance program. benefiting those people laid off. now, all 50 states have a different figure for what unemployment pays unemployed people in that particular state. but whatever that figure is, our bill would add $600 per week for a period of three months. and if somebody says well, that's not long enough, well, if
this -- if we don't get this economy turned around in three months, we're going to be here doing it all again anyway. but beefs up the unemployment by $600 in each of those states on top of what those states are already paying out. so -- and it also in this unemployment parts of this bill makes it available to more americans than ever before. now, i'm chairman of the finance committee. this is just the provisions in the finance committee bill. there were three other bipartisan groups of people working on other parts of the economy to get this bill put together to help unemployed people. our bill though in the finance committee also includes assistance for businesses of all sizes. it keeps them afloat so folks have a job to go back to when
they come out of this pandemic. so don't try to say that this bill doesn't help workers. the bill also includes about $100 billion for health care workers and helps to speed up delivery of treatments and hope -- and help to get potential vaccines developed a lot faster. so this bill also helps health professionals. but it helps nobody -- nobody gets any help as long as the congress sits on its thumb. and that's what we've been doing. all day when this bill could have been passed and sent to the house. my colleagues complained that this unprecedented aid package is not sufficient. i don't know what the exact
figure is at this point because there's still some negotiations going on, but the last i heard it was fast approaching $2 trillion. but somehow that's not enough. they're saying it's not enough help. so while they're saying nobody gets any -- it's not enough help, nobody is getting any he help. i don't understand it. as i've already alluded to, we passed phase one legislation to help two weeks ago. we passed phase two last week. we're working on phase three. so if we need more help down the road, we'll have that opportunity when we know for sure what the situation is.
we don't have to address for the next ten years some things in this -- that they're trying to negotiate now. we can address these problems if this legislation and we don't get the pandemic under control by then. so there's no excuse for not delivering what we can do this very day. instead the democrats are playing politics while the rest of the country suffers, while there's great anxiety out there, while they're looking to their leaders for help and not getting it. if you don't think this is political, just look at the political wish list that pelosi has put out. now, the scholar of the united states senate, senator sasse, is
going to speak about that i think coming up here. and you'll see a picture of this great big bill that she put forward. but just let me name two or three things that i know about because i haven't read an 1,100-page bill like he probably has. they want to erase the postal service debt. what does that have to do with hundreds of thousands of people going to the unemployment office today? they want to require same-day voter registration. what does voter registration have to do with the crisis of unemployment and the pandemic that we're facing today. they want to saddle the airlines with crippling new emission standards. what does that have to do with the unemployed today? the people that are suffering, the anxieties' out there -- the
anxiety that's out there because they don't know how bad the situation is and they know they're losing their job? this legislation also wants to resurrect the green new deal at the same time families are losing their income. my colleagues, now is just not the time for this sort of horseplay. there will be plenty of opportunities to debate these policies later, not when we have a crisis on our hands. in other words, not now. just a few days ago our bipartisan talks were going very well. we made incredible pes the course of a few days that we put this together so we have a bipartisan bill. so to my democrat colleagues,
mr. sasse: mr. president, my chairman on the finance committee, chairman grassley who just left the floor called me a scholar president i think he meant it as a compliment but it doesn't feel like that today. it actually feels like the fact that i've been reading this this afternoon is a sign of the fact that this institution is broken in significant ways, and there are not a lot of productive things happening outside a group of four people who are renegotiating a card deal again and again and again. so i did spend a good chunk of my afternoon reading these 1,113 pages. you might wonder what this is. this is nancy pelosi's last-minute additional christmas wish list of progressive items that she wants added to the coronavirus relief bill that's been being negotiated here over the course of the last 96 or so hours. i wanted to read this because i think we owe it to our constituents to know what's in bills before people pass them.
i want to say in full disclosure the wish list keeps growing so rapidly and radically that this thing could be like 50% obsolete since three or four hours ago when i started digging into it. there may be another bill that's another 1,200 pages thick. this is the one i've been reading today. the speaker has obviously decided that she doesn't want to waste any crisis. the american people face two unprecedented emergencies. we face a public health emergency that is genuinely disastrous and we face a consequence resultant economic emergency that puts at risk lots and lots of families' liveliho livelihoods, lots of dinner tables. there are 5.97 million -- i think i may have misspoke. just shy of six million firms in the u.s. and lots and lots and lots of
those. the overwhelming majority of firms and 47% of all employment is small business in america. it's firms of 500 or fewer employees. these are family business, corner stores. lots of people live on an average of 16 days of cash. and so when the country is shut down in the midst of something like the coronavirus crisis, there are lots of businesses that only have about two weeks before they may cease to exist and just go poof or do something -- go down some other pathway that leads them to become dependencies of the state. so we have two massive crisis in this country. one public health and one economic. and this place often lies and pretends there's some piece of legislation that can solve every problem on earth. that isn't true. but in this case both of these emergencies need lots and lots of help and lifelines, life preservers from this institution, and that's why so many people around here have
been working all night, overnight three or four days in a row. a number of us have been in this chamber until midnight or 1:00 a.m. multiple nights. i'm a 4:00 a.m. wake-up guy. i'm usually in bed by 9:00. with i'm here at 1:00 a.m., it's well past a period of coherence. whenner' working -- when we're working around the clock, it's because of an mrng. lots and lots -- an emergency. lots and lots of stuff. this bid from nancy pelosi have nothing to do with the coronavirus emergency. i want to take us through some of what is in this piece of legislation, but i'm going to pull up for a minute as i recognize that the majority leader who is at the center of this negotiation has entered the chamber and so i'm going to yield to him and let him make whatever updates he wants to give us in this chamber and then i will return to this piece of legislation after the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i say to my friend from nebraska, i'll be very brief here.
i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 157, h.r. 748, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcc -- mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call for the cloture motion be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse: thank you, mr. president. so i want to be clear -- i yield to the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: just one further observation. we will not be having any votes tonight. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse: thank you,
mr. president. i want to be clear this negotiation has been messy. there is lots and lots in this bill that i don't like. there is lots in this bill that is also critically important and necessary and urgent for the american people. but there are a bunch of things in here that i think stink, frankly. i don't like firm-specific money in legislation, so i don't like much of the airline section of this bill. the airlines didn't do anything wrong at this moment when all their travelers fall off because of the pandemic before them, but there are pieces of the way any legislation like this is written when it has specific firms in it that i dislike and i think should be done more effectively over time, but this is following a model of how these -- these portions of legislation have been written around here in the past. i don't like the direct payments that washington is going to try to renew long after the american people have defeated the coronavirus. there's a lot in this legislation that i don't like, but there are things that we
should all be applauding. this legislation tries to turbocharge vaccine development. we need what my friend and your friend, the senator from montana, calls a manhattan project for the vaccine accelerator. we need to go lots faster, figuring out how to remove barriers to enable companies at this time to seek to be effective overefficient in ways that pluralize lots and lots of different pharmaceutical firms competing at once and taking three or four steps of the drug development or the vaccine development process and trying to run them in parallel instead of in sequence because the american people and the world need this vaccine. there are things that we should be proud of in that part of the legislation. i like the fact that this legislation -- not theion but te compromise bill that the senate has been working on over the last four days, i like the fac help small businesses stay alive during this period of zero revenue with well-structured loans. i think that senators rubio and
collins and their two democratic colleagues on the other side of the aisle have done a really good job. it's a crazy eye-popping price tag at $350 billion, this small business loan program, but it's a necessity in this moment and it's legislation that people should be proud of. i like the fact that this bill work in the appropriations section. not in the whole bill as i -- the whole draft texas i wish it would but in the appropriations section. it work hard to get more than 51% of the appropriations section of the money to governors to allow them to make differentiated spending decisions which they can make more effectively than we can make in washington, d.c. where you look out across 325 million people in an undifferentiated way. our governors are better at building public-private partnerships than the congress is. in my state, omaha and lincoln have different economics than the rural parts of the state, but omaha and lincoln are different than nashville and memphis. and nashville and memphis are different than l.a. and seattle. and so this bill works hard to
try to take a big chunk, a majority of the appropriations section of the legislation and drive it back to governors. there are things that are good in this bill. there are things that i think are weak and clunky in this bill, but it was negotiated in a bipartisan way in good faith on topics and issues that were related to the coronavirus emergency. it wasn't a republican bill. it wasn't a democratic bill. it certainly isn't my favorite bill or piece of legislation around here, but it was a good-faith bipartisan attempt that people were negotiating on all weekend. but instead of taking that legislation, urgent, necessary legislation and passing it quickly, democrats have now decided to allow speaker pelosi to block it through proxies here in the senate so that she can rewrite the bill with a ton of crap that has absolutely nothing to do with the public health emergency that we face at this
moment. so i have been reading the legislation this afternoon. we have families that are suffering. we have small businesses that are closing literally by the hour. we have doctors fighting to prevent their hospitals from being oversurged and overwhelmed. and what is speaker pelosi trying to do? she is trying to take hostages about her dream legislation, all sorts of dream legislative provisions that have nothing to do with this moment and say the american public can't get access to the public health piece of legislation or the economic relief pieces of legislation unless she gets hostages that are entirely unrelated to this moment. we're better than that. democrats in the senate are better than that. many of them are privately embarrassed about this. i don't understand how they voted today to filibuster this bill for a second time when in private many of them tell us, well, this is just a part of the negotiation and our leaders want us to vote this way, but i'm really uncomfortable with it because i don't think we should be dealing with unrelated
issues. i have had multiple democrats today tell me they don't think we should be dealing with unrelated issues. things not about the health or economic emergency before the nation. but here's why we've stopped. here's why the bill that's before us -- and not my favorite piece of legislation. not republican, not democrat, but a bipartisan good-faith piece of legislation, the reason we're not voting on it is because 1,119 pages of new nancy pelosi demands that we should consider. i promise you that every washington, d.c. lobbyist right now has been combing over this 1,200 pages all afternoon just like i have because they wonder what goodies in it they can claim credit for or they wonder what goodies that are against the interests of their sector they should be negotiating against. we shouldn't be debating anything in an emergency moment like this with another 1,119 pages being dropped in at the last minute of wish list
demands. i decided to start digging through it. i will give you a few highlights or lowlights. here's page 421. page 421, line 22. minimum student loan relief as a result of the covid-19 national emergency. not later than 270 days after the last day of the covid emergency period. think about what this means. not later than 270 days. that's nine months, nine months after the emergency's over, then the secretary of education has to do all this new stuff. nobody who wants student loans -- student debt loan forgiveness should pretend that this is about getting emergency cash into the economy for liquidity or solvency because the nancy pelosi demand about loan forgiveness says right here this is for something nine months after the emergency. this is something that many democrats want. as a former college president, i actually think this is a bad
idea, but there are intellectually defensible reasons to argue for it, there are reasonable cases to be made, but they have tried to make them in the past and not been able to pass the legislation and it has nothing to do with the coronavirus. not later than 270 days after the last day of the covid-19 emergency period, the secretary's concern shall jointly carry out a program under which a qualified borrower with respect to the covered loans and private education of loans of such qualified borrower shall receive in accordance with paragraph 3 an amount equal to the lesser of the following. a, the total amount of each loan covered and each private education loan of the borrower or, b, $10,000. so what this says is you can feel the burn with a $10,000 public and private loan cancellation project a year in the future, or depending on how long this emergency goes. this emergency could be with us through a trough in the late summer and another peak in the fall and winter. we may be in the coronavirus emergency for more than a year.
so speaker pelosi says well, the secretaries -- the cabinet officials and the executive branch probably shouldn't be burdened with this then now because obviously it had nothing to do with coronavirus, but in the future, we want to bake into law a $10,000 loan forgiveness program that has nothing to do with coronavirus. that's wrong. this institution has been bleeding public trust for a long time. when we pass a $2 trillion piece of legislation in the middle of an emergency, there are going to be lots of things wrong with it. there are going to be lots of reason why the public looks back and says why aren't you all more competent? why couldn't you have done this better, that better? this feels clunky. why would these people be included in the direct payments but those people wouldn't. you have to use $2,500 but we're using the 2018 tax returns to determine whether or not you earned your $2,500 to be able to qualify for the $1,200 per family and it phases out from
$75,000 to $100,000. there are a lot of technical issues that need to be navigated. some will be imperfect. the public will say why didn't you do it this way instead of that way? those are fair questions. we have to defend members of the task forces who quote that part of the legislation, a bipartisan task force that worked on that piece of legislation all weekend, but what will be completely impossible is to tell the public the reason we did the loan forgiveness program which had nothing to do with coronavirus this way era than that way is why? it was a northbound train and people could load it with a whole bunch of swampy stuff. you may believe in loan forgiveness. make the case and win an argument for loan forgiveness. don't do it on the backs of a national emergency when in nebraska i have families calling me from omaha where spouses have just been put in new institutions in the last two or three weeks because of declining dementia, because of new alzheimer's, and as soon as they got put in an institution, that institution got put on quarantine lockdown and a
husband only in his late 60's but losing his entire mind and memory, he doesn't understand why he's there. his wife can't visit him anymore. his kids can't visit him anymore. and he doesn't know what the heck is going on. that's a genuine tragedy. that's not an occasion for nancy pelosi to try to get a loan forgiveness program done that she couldn't get done by regular legislation. it's wrong. and the democrats in this body, most of them know it's wrong. none of them are going to come down here and make an argument. none of 47 democrats in the senate are going to come to the floor and say you know what we ought to do during this national emergency? we ought to do a student loan forgiveness program right now. somebody might mention it in a long list implying the money will have to do with liquidity, but if you actually read what happens in the legislation, there is no loan forgiveness until 270 days after the coronavirus national emergency is over. page 270.
sorry. 570. not even coronavirus can put a pause on our culture wars. line 14. the congressional covid-19 aid overnight panel in conjunction with cigtarp shall collect diversity data from any that receive aid from covid-19 and issue a public report no year than one year after the disbursement of funds. it will include all the following, number one, employee demographics, the gender, race, ethnic identity to the extent possible, of all corporation employees as otherwise known or provided voluntarily for the total number of employees full and part time, dot, dot, dot. i will skip ahead a couple of paragraphs. and pay equity. a comparison of pay among racial and ethnic minorities and to the extent possible results by white ethnic groups as compared to the white counterparts for similar roles and assignments.
paragraph 4, corporate board diversity data including total number of board members, race, gender, class, ethnic identity, et cetera, et cetera. i am skipping ahead here. page 572 which is the next page. paragraph e, any corporation that receives federal aid related covid-19 now must maintain officials and budgets dedicated to diversity inclusion initiatives for no less than five years after, blah, blah, blah. none of this has anything to do with the coronavirus. there are all sorts of real racial issues in america that need to be addressed, but none of this has anything to do with the coronavirus. if you want to argue for this legislation, argue for this legislation. once people in nursing homes in nebraska aren't being locked out of being able to visit their family members with alzheimer's and dementia. page 681.
line 16, section 325. same-day registration. in general, each state shall pending amendment any eligible individual on a day of a federal election or on any day when voting including early voting is permitted for a federal election to register to vote in such an election at the same polling place using a form that receipts the requirements under section 9-b of the national voter registration act of 1993, or if the individual is already registered to vote to revise any of the individual's registration information and b to cast such a vote in an election, paragraph 2. except the requirements under paragraph is shall not apply to a state in which state law in effect continuously on or after the date of enactment of this section. you see what this is about. is this about same-day voter registration, because november 3 is just 225 days away, and if there is anything the american people are worried right now about, it's that they would like washington, d.c. to take away the authority of 50 secretaries of state and determine the way you conduct local elections in america.
this has absolutely nothing to do with coronavirus. absolutely nothing to do with coronavirus. this isn't a republican versus democratic scream. this is nonsense. this is 99% of the american public, if they were in this gallery you would be shaking their head and rolling their eyes and saying, what? you guys are trying saying that the federal government should change the elections in america. there's no one in the gallery because we're in the middle of a pandemic. so this probably isn't the time to be having a debate about whether the federal government should micromanage the wait our 50 states conduct their elections. i think this is a bad idea, but if you want to argue thor this idea, let's do it as soon as the pandemic is over. quite trying to exploit a crisis.
quit trying to exploit a crisis. page 275. there's almost no section of american life or that can't be touched in an emergency if you want to play exploitative politics. line 12, division n, u.s. postal service provisions because of course in the middle of a pandemic, you know what the american people want? they want at the have a labor fight about the postal service. section 140001 elimination of the usps debt additional borrowing authorities. in general, notwithstanding any other provision of the law, paragraph one, any outstanding debt of the united states postal service owed to the treasury pursuant to sections 250h.005 and 2011 on the date of enactment of this act is canceled and, paragraph two, after the date of enactment, the u.s. postal service is authorized to borrow money from the treasury in an amount not to exceed -- i got to count all these numbers -- $15 billion to
carry out the duties and responsibilities of the postal service including those under title 39 of the u.s. code and the secretary of the treasury shall lend to such amount at the request of the postal service. paragraph b, repeal of the fiscal year borrowing limit of section 2505-a-1 is amended add shrinking the paragraph, quote, in any one fiscal year, close quorum calls and anything that follows that period. please senate democrats, you don't believe that this is good gonance. somebody please come to the floor and defend why we're doing a postal service bailout in the middle of an emergency. i know that bernie sanders believes in postal service reform. i don't agree with senator sanders on this. but he's actually pretty thoughtful about it. he is a he spent a lot of time thinking about how he might bail out the postal service. if bernie sanders wants to argue for a postal service bailout, he should make that case. there's not a single -- i
haven't been here all day, but i've presided a couple hours. i haven't heard a single democrat come to the floor and argue for a postal service bailout. somebody please come back to the floor and at least stand? the light of day before the american people and say the stuff nancy pelosi is voting for is a good idea to do in the middle of this national health emergency. page 768, line 7, in general, notwithstanding any other provision of lurks subject to the requirements of this subsection, the wage rate in effect under section a-1 with respect to an employee of an employer described in paragraph or any other individual who provides labor or services for remuneration for such employer regardless if an independent contractor shall not be paid less than $15 an hour. so while businesses are struggling to make ends meet and we're seeing lots and lots of
small businesses go bankrupt in all 50 states in america today, businesses are going bankrupt in america today in all 50 of the states that we represent, speaker pelosi wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. i used to be a professor. i'm a business guy by background, but i was a history professor for a long time, and when i would teach, i taught the socratic method. in a seminar, if i had 12 students 15 students in a class, i would regularly try to frame up a given weekly seminar and try to figure out how to map a debate where you could get about half the people in a class on a debate. if the debate was off-weighted and there was a minority group and a majority group, i would tend to join the minority group regardless of what my view was on the issue, and i would try to fight for the minority position just to help spice up the debate and make it more interesting. i think a $15 minimum wage is really bad economics.
but i've argued for it many, many times in class because there are intellectually coherent reasons to argue for t if we weren't dealing with the pandemic in king county, washington, one of the things we might talk about is how the $15 minimum wage has worked out in seattle. because their public was in favor of it a couple of years, and now there is a huge move against it because people realize a what it actually does. it accelerates the marginalization and casualization and layoffs of the people making between $9 and $14 an hour. it speeds outation. so i would love it if anybody who is a primary breadwinner was earning more than $15 an hour. i would love that to be reality in american life. but here are two facts you need to know. fact number one, last time i checked the data, 89% of everybody who made the minimum wage in america wasn't a primary wage earner. they were a high school kid. they were a college student getting their first job. they were working part time
while they were in school, they just graduated high school and hadn't figured out their long-term path, maybe they were in trade school. but they still lived at mom and dad's house. or maybe they are a 65-year-old aunt who lives in the family but the rest of the house is self self-sufficient but her wages augment the family's income. 89% of the family who make the minimum wage are not the primary wage earner or breadwinner in their family. but of the 11% that are, the idea that you can just raise the minimum wage to any amount, i mean, if you just think good intentions are sufficient, then why $15? for heaven's sake, $15 an hour on ads 2,000-hour work year, it's really hard to get by on $30,000 a year. $145 isn't enough. why not have a minimum wage of $20, $30 an hour? the reason is it doesn't actually work. if you just raise the wage to a different level, the
contribution of value of that job, what happens is the firms cease to exist or people ute mate more rapidly. but there are reasonable arguments to be made certainly there are emotional and humanitarian arguments to be made for wanting a $15 minimum wage. but wanting a $15 minimum wage is an argument you should make. it's not something you do in the midst of a public health emergency. and it's certainly not something you do in the midst of a public health emergency where lots and lots of small businesses are ceasing to exist because a $15 minimum wage will just drive more people out of business. and so it's -- it would be better to the have a $15 an hour job than an $11 an hour job. so if you're going to debate a $15 an hour job, please do it in the light of day. what the speaker is doing here is wrong. page 803. this one goes on for a bunch of pages. so i'll jump across.
line 10, section 704. airline carbon emissions and goals. in general, not later than 90 days after the enactment of this act, the administrator of the f.a.a. shall require each air carrier receiving assistance to fully offset the annual carbon emissions of such air carriers for domestic flights beginning in the year 2025. the administrator of the federal aviation administration shall require each air carrier receiving assistance under section 101 to, a, make and arizona chief a bidening commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the domestic flights of such care carrier in every calendar year from sections -- 2005 levels by the year 20356789 -- 2035. and a 50% reduction to a play by the year 2050s this is like
something ought of the green new deal for the age of covid but it's just the technocratic piece for airline emissions and here we're dealing with the part about airline emissions from the year 2035 to the year 2050. if you've been looking at the data this afternoon, one of the things that scott gottlieb has been talking about a lot today is we see that the hospitalization rates and the case fatality rate for the 45-50 hospital admissions covid-19 looks a lot worse than we thought a week ago. there are some thinking on the italy curve that are scary. there are little bits of hopeful signs that as we have a lot more positive tests but we simultaneously have committed transmission problems. if you get more positive tests, some of that is because you have more positive confirmation of disease. some of it is because you're doing more testing. there are some things that might be mildly good news. but the former f.d.a.
commissioner has been talking about some really bad news which is we talk about these diseases being particularly bad for people over 60. but there's been a lot of hopeful signs besides our love of neighbor obligations, not to be transmitting the disease to our grand mass and to our parents and to the elderly among us, but it looks like among 45-54-year-olds, if the death rate does look to be, we don't know, but on some preliminary data looks tobacco between .5% and .7%, that would be a stunningly high death rate. none of those people care -- you know what none of those people care about right now? none of them are talking about airline emissions between the year 2035 and 2050. nancy pelosi shouldn't be talking about it either. page 911, i'll stop soon. i see one of my colleagues waiting to talk.
page 911, line 3, section 404, modification of the special rules for minimum funding standards for community newspapers. you wonder what is going to stoop the public health crisis? we should talk about the business model of local newspapers right now rather than getting the american people the health -- the relief they need. paragraph a, amendment to the internal revenue code of 1986 l, subsection m of section 430 of the internal revenue code of 19886s a added by the setting, every community up for retirement enhancement act of 2019 is amended hereby to read as follows. special rules for community newspaper plans. in general, an eligible newspaper plan sponsor of a plan, which -- under which no participant has had the participant's accrued benefit increased after april 2 of 2019 may elect to have the alternative standards described in paragraph 4 apply to the plan. eligible newspaper plans sponsor
the term eligible newspaper plan sponsor here means and there are four or five different definitions of what an eligible newspaper plan sponsor would mean. if the american people wonder why congress hasn't passed a coronavirus emergency health and emergency health economics relief plan, i think it would be great if pelosi went out and stood at a gaggle of reporters and started talking about the newspaper sponsor alternative plan definition provisions of her bid in this negotiation on page 911, subsection b. one more for now. on page 931, rehabilitation of multiemployer pension plans, line 16, paragraph a, establishment. there is established in the department of treasury an agency to be known as the pension rehabilitation administration. by the way, there is no such thing.
this doesn't exist. it's being created of whole cloth here. so in the middle of a national health pandemic emergency, we're creating new bureaucracies to deal with insolvent pensions. there is established hereby a position and position of director. there shall be a head of the pension rehabilitation administration as a director who shall be athe pointed by the president to a term in general, a term of director shall last five years. i'm going to stop. this is wrong. this ought not to be happening. it's not being done in good faith. basically, none of this stuff is really going to be considered in any negotiation. it's a guise and a reduce to try to -- it's a guise and a rues to try to move the game post. the american people are waiting for this relief act and it's
gone on for another 36 hours here. for no reason that's honorable and sincere. there are a whole budge of big and real debates that could be had inside the four corners of the four, kind of five task forces that helped to write this legislation. there are lots of reasonable debates to be had inside that. throwing in a laundry list of christmas list fighting is why this place bleeds public trust. the democratic whip in the house said is explicitly, quote, a tremendous opportunity exists -- exists in this crisis, i'm adding in brackets, to restructure things here to fit our vision, close quote. none of these 1119 pams are about solve our crisis. none of these nine pages beat the virus. none of these keep small business alive. i get it. speaker pelosi is a liberal progressive from san francisco. i am a conservative from nebraska. we have a different political
philosophy. that is fine. it is completely reasonable for us to debate politics and policy and ideology when we're not in the middle of a crisis. speaker pelosi can bring her liberal wish list to the house foor for a vote any time she likes. unlike most of us she controls an agenda but she ought to have the decency to vote on her ideologically driven wish list after this emergency legislation has been passed. we're better than this and this is not the way to prestore the public trust. we should do better. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presidin mr. president, i know we're talking about the unprecedented times we're facing in our nation. mr. sullivan: but i want to talk about something we have in common, something that's pretty remarkable that i think we all need to remember we have in common. we represent incredible people. the american people who are doing so much right now in alaska, in colorado, in
nebraska, in montana, in connecticut to help each other so much. i frequently tell my constituents as we're talking about getting through this crisis everyone has a role to play, young, old, business leaders, elected leaders, union members, and everybody is playing a role so i am very proud of my constituents in alaska and i know that everybody in this body is proud of what their constituents are doing right now, the best of our nation right now. we talk about how we're teleworking. i would like to remind folks that there are some americans, a lot of alaskans, thousand, millions who can't telework. our health care professionals who are on the front lines, our first responders, our truck
drivers, port workers, alaskans who are stocking the grocery store shelves, picking up our refuse, parents who are teaching their children at home, local restaurants who are working day and night to continue to provide takeout food, so many people are doing such good work. there's an incredible outpouring of generosity from all of our citizens, all americans. we're hearing about it. from our small businesses donating their time and services to help people in their communities, to volunteers, to our nonprofits. mr. president, that's what alaskans are doing. that's what americans are doing arcaround the country at this vy moment despite this enormous adversity and challenges that we're facing. one of the most unprecedented
challenges in our history. extraordinary precarious times right now. people are concerned obviously about their health. people are concerned obviously about their economic health, their jobs, losing jobs, retirement accounts, lifesavings. people being told to stay at home, hardworking americans. alaskans who have worked their whole lives, who don't know even how they're going to pay for their groceries or rent. and, mr. president, they're taking these actions at a difficult time because local and state governments all across the country are making tough decisions, working with their communities to help make sure that the collective whole of our
societies whether in anchorage or fair banks or other places in america are going to get through this health crisis. the bottom line is they're coming together, shared sacrifice. and i am so proud of the people i represent and i know my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are as well, something that we have a lot in common. now, there was an article in "the washington post" just the other day, like two days ago. and it said something like, you know, america has gotten through a lot of challenges before. world war ii, the civil war. but this article went on to say but perhaps the american people don't really have the metal or resiliency to get through this one. that was kind of the gist of this article. classic, clueless, inside-the-beltway reporting.
we're not the same america that got through other challenges. we don't have the metal. i would suggest these "washington post" reporters need to get out of d.c. maybe they should come to alaska. maybe they should come to somewhere else in america, come to my state. i guarantee you we have the metal, mr. president. alaskans and other great americans to get through this crisis. i always say my constituents are some of the most resilient people in the world. let me just give you a couple of examples. our alaskanian native communities have been thriving for thousands of years in some of the harshest conditions anywhere on the planet. we are a state full of the ancestors of rugged pioneers who came to alaska looking for promise and stayed to build a great state. in my state, we have had extreme challenges before throughout our history. earthquakes have flattened our buildings.
tsunamis have wiped out cities, floods have swept away our homes and entire communities. wildfires have singed our cities. volcanic eruptions have dimmed the sun. the price of oil and the markets have dropped before like we're seeing now and now we have another unprecedented challenge, a pandemic facing my beloved state and my beloved country. mr. president, as i mentioned we have a lot in common here and i think a lot of us, all of us take pride in what our constituents, our fellow americans are doing to come together to fight this and we will fight it and we'll emerge stronger and more resilient and those post reporters who doubted the will of americans ma maybe a couple of years they'll be writing a story of how wrong they were. mr. president, until about a day
ago i was actually proud of the work of this body in responding to this crisis. the past three weeks we have come together putting together bold, bipartisan pieces of legislation to address this pandemic in a quick amount of time. so what we are calling phase one which was two weeks ago where congress passed an $8.3 billion package. i won't go into all the details -- to address the health care needs that we were starting to see with the spread of this pandemic. phase one. phase two, just last week again, members of the body, this body coming together. it wasn't a perfect bill, that's for sure. came over from the house that provided federal funds so individuals exposed to the virus can get healthy and that our hospitals have more resources to
combat this health crisis. the president passed it the day we passed it here in the senate. just last week. bold, bipartisan work. this legislation, for example, expanded emergency food assistance, including for children who rely on free and reduced lunches. for school cafeterias who could no longer access those meals because the schools are closing. new paid sick leave. a hundred percent dollar for dollar that would be paid and reimbursed by the federal government. so we acted, mr. president. we acted. these weren't perfect pieces of legislation. i didn't like every provision in them but we got together, democrats, republicans, and we acted quickly and boldly. and that's what our constituents want us to do. but we knew we had to do much,
much more. much, much more because every day there's a new development that we're seeing not just on the health side but on the economic side. so what did we do? the last week everybody here rolled up their sleeves. around the clock. and again i was proud of the work that we started on. by the way, this was bipartisan work. i was talking to democratic senators all weekend. when you listen to the chairman of the finance committee, he talked about the task force that we had, democrats and republicans. putting together legislation, big, bold legislation coming together like we had on phase one and phase two, to really focus in three and four key areas, mr. president. putting cash directly in the hands of hurting families in alaska, throughout the country. delivering rapid relief to the
small businesses that are being crushed by this pandemic and laying off their workers. stabilizing key industries to avoid massive layoffs that are now very quickly coming on the horizon and starting to happen in america. and sending new resources to medical professionals who are on the front lines. that's what our goals were. and we needed to do it in a big way. we completed this, the senate, republicans and democrats, in less than a week. why? because we knew, all of us knew the people we represent were hurting. are hurting. and they need hope. and they're looking for us for that hope. again, it wasn't perfect.
this bill isn't perfect. but it's pretty remarkable work to do in less than a week. and this bill represents a huge and massive effort to help the people we represent. now, a lot of my colleagues have been coming down on the floor talking about what this bill will do for the people we represent. i'm not going to go into all the details but let me just name a few because some of them were ideas from our democratic colleagues. some of them where we had certain amounts in the bill, they came and said no, we want more. okay. all right. we'll work with you just like we did on phase one and phase two. so i'll just mention a few. i've been talking to a lot of the elected leaders throughout my state, making a lot of calls. what do you need? what's happening? how can we help? had a phone call just a few days ago with the mayor of anchorage.
that's my hometown. and everybody is working hard. the mayor is, the governor who is doing a good job, really good job. his team. we're all working together. the mayor is a democrat. the governor is a republican. i'm reaching out to everybody. it doesn't matter party at this moment, that's for darn sure. what did the mayor say to me? priority has to be people need cash, senator, to pay the rent, to get food, to get a car payment. there's so much uncertainty. can we do that? yes, we can do that. we did it. it's in the bill. $2,400 per couple, $500 per additional child. that's going to help. that's going to help. with families who need cash. that's one thing. we did a massive increase, another thing, to the unemployment insurance program.
a quarter of a trillion dollars, $250 billion. why? because we're seeing massive layoffs. now, i'm going to give my colleagues, democratic colleagues, friends of mine are on the floor right now, this was a big idea that you wanted to push, big number. it's a big number. a quarter of a trillion. this is going to significantly expand the number of individuals who are eligible to receive benefits. this is really important for my state, particularly the self-employed, the fishermen who have never been covered under the u.i. programs in the past and what's more, the bill provides a flat increase in benefits. $600 per week to all state programs in the next few months. so workers who are forced on unemployment which unfortunately we're seeing hundreds of
thousands across the country have the financial security to pay their bills and stay afloat. so this is another big element of this bill. let me provide one more. i think one of the most important. and i think there's really strong bipartisan agreement on this one. i know it because i talk to my friends who are democrats. a small business rescue package and relief package of about $350 billion to enable small businesses to access credit and have the liquidity to stay afloat and weather this storm. not creating a new bureaucracy but an expansion of the small business administration's loan program so you can do it through local banks in your state. the idea here, mr. president, is
to make sure the worker and the employers of our small businesses stay connected. small businesses can take out a loan of up to $10 million under this program and if they use that loan to pay for payroll and rent and other fixed costs, this loan is going to be completely forgiven. whenever i describe this to my fellow alaskans, they say this is exactly the kind of thing we need, senator, right now, as businesses are closing. so that's in. that's in the bill. cash in the hands of small businesses so they can keep workers employed and be ready to get back up and grow and prosper again when we get through this pandemic. that's in the bill. everybody agrees with